May 26, 2018

Alabama election: Democrat Jones defeats Roy Moore in Senate upset

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From BBC

has become the first Democrat in 25 years to win a US Senate seat for Alabama, after a bitter campaign against .

His unexpected victory deals a blow to , who backed Mr Moore, and narrows the Republican majority in the Senate to 51-49.

Mr Moore has so far refused to concede, saying “it’s not over”.

He fought a controversial campaign, in which allegations surfaced of sexual misconduct with teenage girls.

Mr Moore, a firebrand conservative who has said he believes that homosexual activity should be illegal, has repeatedly denied the claims against him.

The contest was for the seat vacated by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this year.

It’s an outcome that seemed all but impossible a year ago and still seemed unlikely even as voters headed to the polls on Tuesday.

The ramifications of this unexpected victory are clear.

The Republican majority in the Senate will narrow, considerably improving the chances Democrats could gain control of the chamber in the 2018 mid-term elections.

It could also be seen as a rebuke of President Donald Trump, who gave full-throated support to Roy Moore even when other leaders in his party were hesitant.

After winning governor races in Virginia and New Jersey in November, some Democratic supporters will be hoping that an anti-Trump electoral wave is forming.

But Moore was such a flawed candidate that it may be too early to tell.

Mr Jones won with 49.9% of the vote, to Mr Moore’s 48.4%. All votes from precincts around the state have been counted.

The margin of victory is well above the half a percentage point which would have triggered a recount.

But Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, quoted by the Washington Post, said a recount could still be ordered if a review of write-in votes and overseas ballots narrowed it to within this range.

Overseas ballots can continue to come in until the seventh day after the election, ie 19 December, the Department of Defense’s Federal Voting Assistance Program says.

There was a total of 1.7% of votes for write-ins, where voters wrote in names of candidates who did not appear on the ballot paper.
Even if the final result is outside the 0.5% margin, either candidate can request a recount if they are prepared to pay the costs.

Mr Moore, a 70-year-old former judge, told his supporters it was not yet over.

“We’ve been painted in an unfavourable and unfaithful light,” he said. “Realise that when the vote is this close that it’s not over.”

did not concede, President Trump congratulated Mr Jones in a tweet shortly after US media declared him the winner, adding that “Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time”.

The Senate seat will come up for re-election in November 2020.

IMAGES:
Media caption What the Alabama upset will mean for Donald Trump’s agenda
Supporters of Doug Jones celebrate at the election night in Birmingham, Alabama.Image copyright REUTERS
Alabama election map

For more on this story and video go to: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42333712

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