In the closest Alabama senate race in three decades, and one of the most tumultuous in recent memory, Democrat Doug Jones prevailed over Republican Roy Moore.
Fox News called the election shortly after 10pm EST, reporting 49.6 per cent of the vote for Jones, and 48.8 for Moore with 87 per cent of precincts reporting.
The election will be remembered as a strange campaign with heavy political implications for both the Democrats and Republicans.
Roy S. Moore’s path to victory in the deeply conservative state should have been a no-brainer but allegations of sexual misconduct greatly hampered his push to victory. Following Trump’s appointee of Jeff Sessions as attorney general, the seat was left vacant and ripe for the Democrats to seize. With Democrat Doug Jones seizing the position, Republicans now see their advantage in the Senate dwindle to a single seat, putting their majority position at tremendous risk.
Jones campaigned heavily in urban areas, energizing the African-American community into voting for his liberal values, while Moore depended on a strong turnout from his longtime base of rural white supporters.
After supporting Moore’s Republican challenger in the primaries, and an initial reluctance to embrace Moore, President Trump gave full endorsement to the controversial candidate, tweeting his support on Tuesday: “Roy Moore will always vote with us.”
The people of Alabama will do the right thing. Doug Jones is Pro-Abortion, weak on Crime, Military and Illegal Immigration, Bad for Gun Owners and Veterans and against the WALL. Jones is a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet. Roy Moore will always vote with us. VOTE ROY MOORE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2017
Early in the day, Moore rode his horse Sassy to the polls, a Tennessee walking horse. Donning a black hat and a grin on his face, the Republican candidate was confident of his victory.
Jones arrived early to cast his ballot. Speaking before a press corps of over 50 reporters, the Democratic candidate declared himself “exuberant” at his prospects and leveled a final volley at his Republican opponent.
Accompanied by his wife and children, Jones predicted that black turnout would be strong and criticized Moore for comments he made criticizing constitutional amendments enacted after the end of the Civil War.
“I think they’ve seen, within Doug Jones, a partner for a long time,” Mr. Jones said of the black community. “And they sure don’t see a partner in Roy Moore.”
Jones’ victory illustrates that the whirlwind of controversy during the election triumphed over the long-held partisanship toward the Republican party in the South.
Jones received a strong turnout from black and urban voters, with above-normal support from suburban voters who would’ve otherwise skipped the election. Republicans and independents who wrote in third candidates also appeared to help Jones lower the threshold for victory.