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story.lead_photo.caption Doug Jones takes the stage Tuesday night with his wife, Louise, in Birmingham after winning the Alabama special Senate election. “We have shown the country the way that we can be,” Jones said.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Democrat Doug Jones won Alabama's special U.S. Senate election Tuesday, beating back history, an embattled Republican opponent and President Donald Trump, who endorsed GOP candidate Roy Moore despite sexual misconduct allegations against the candidate.

It was the first Democratic Senate victory in a quarter-century in Alabama, one of the reddest of red states, and proved anew that party loyalty is anything but sure in the age of Trump.

As of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, with all of the state's 2,220 precincts reporting, Jones held 49.9 percent of the votes to Moore's 48.4 percent. The remainder were write-ins.

The victory by Jones, a former U.S. attorney best known for prosecuting two Ku Klux Klansmen responsible for Birmingham's infamous 1963 church bombing, narrows the GOP advantage in the U.S. Senate to 51-49. It also injects energy into the Democratic Party's early push to reclaim House and Senate majorities in 2018.

The senator-elect, in his victory speech, said his win signaled a moment for national unity.

"I have always believed that the people of Alabama have more in common than divides us," Jones said. "We have shown the country the way that we can be."

Moore, meanwhile, declined to concede during a brief appearance at a campaign party in Montgomery. Instead, he raised the possibility of a recount.

"It's not over," Moore said. "We know that God is still in control."

Alabama law calls for a recount if the margin of victory is less than one-half of a percentage point.

Many Washington Republicans viewed the defeat of Moore as perhaps the best outcome for the party nationally despite the short-term sting. Positions taken by Moore, a Christian conservative, has alienated women, racial minority groups, gays and Muslims. He also faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct with teens, one only 14, when he was in his 30s.

A number of Republicans, including Alabama's long-serving Sen. Richard Shelby, declined to support him. But Trump lent his name and the national GOP's resources to Moore's campaign in recent days.

Early Tuesday, Trump tweeted that Alabamians would "do the right thing."

He went on: "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!"

Later, he congratulated Jones on a "hard-fought" victory.

"The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win," Trump wrote on Twitter. "The people of Alabama are great, and the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never ends!"

Former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, recorded robo-calls for Jones.

If Moore had won, the GOP would have been saddled with a colleague accused of sordid conduct as Republicans nationwide struggle with Trump's low popularity. Senate leaders had promised that Moore would have faced an immediate ethics investigation.

Jones takes over the seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The term expires in January of 2021.

Republicans on Capitol Hill have expressed hopes of scheduling a vote on their tax legislation before Jones is sworn in, but lawmakers are still struggling to devise a compromise bill to bridge the divide between the House and Senate legislation that can win majority support in both chambers.

A FIGHT OF IDEALS

At the center of the special election was Moore, a 70-year-old former judge who was twice ousted as state Supreme Court chief justice after flouting federal law. This year, he attempted a political resurrection against party officials disturbed by the accusations of his alleged sexual misconduct with teens.

He strenuously denied the allegations, which publicly surfaced for the first time last month.

"It's been a horrific battle," his wife, Kayla, said at an election-eve rally, where she sparked new upset by scolding the "fake news" for suggesting that her husband was insensitive to racial and other minorities.

"One of our attorneys is a Jew," she told reporters packed in a barn-style reception hall.

On the ground in Alabama on Tuesday, those who stood in line to cast their ballots were far more focused on the candidates than the broader political fallout.

"He's not a truthful man," 69-year-old Mary Multrie said of Moore. Multrie, who works in a children's hospital, was not influenced by accusations of sexual misconduct against Moore, she said, because she already did not like him. "He talks about God, but you don't see God in his actions."

She was among more than two dozen people queued up in the chilly morning air at Legion Field, a predominantly black precinct in Birmingham, to cast their ballots.

Al Bright, 63, who does refrigeration repair, said he voted for Moore.

"Regardless of the allegations against him, I believe he is an honorable man," Bright said.

Teresa Brown, a 53-year-old administrative assistant, said she preferred Jones, in part because he would be better positioned to work across party lines.

"We don't need a pedophile in there," Brown added.

Sessions, whose departure from the Senate prompted Tuesday's election, said Tuesday that he voted but did not say it was for Moore.

"I voted absentee," Sessions said in Baltimore, responding to a question from a reporter. "I value the sanctity of the ballot. The people of Alabama are good and decent. They'll make the right decision."

Ultimately, Tuesday's contest came down to which side better motivated its supporters to vote. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said ahead of the election that turnout likely would not exceed 25 percent of registered voters.

Jones fought to cobble together a coalition of blacks, liberal whites and moderate Republicans.

"This is an important time in Alabama's history, and we feel very confident where we are and how this is going to turn out," the Democrat said after casting his ballot Tuesday.

Moore, who largely avoided public events in the final weeks of the race and spent far less money on advertising than his opponent, was counting on the state's traditional Republican leanings and the strength of his passionate evangelical Christian supporters.

Moore sidestepped questions about sexual misconduct as he arrived at his polling place on horseback.

Alabama is one of the most Republican-leaning states in the nation.

Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in the state by nearly 28 points just 13 months ago. Yet Moore had political baggage that repelled some moderate Republicans even before allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced.

Virtually the entire Republican establishment, Trump included, supported Moore's primary opponent, Sen. Luther Strange, in September. Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, was one of the only early high-profile Moore backers.

Moore was removed the first time from his position as state Supreme Court chief justice after he refused to remove a boulder-size Ten Commandments monument at the state court building. The second time, he was permanently suspended for urging state probate judges to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Republican also argued that a Muslim shouldn't be allowed to serve in the House because of his religion, has criticized the science of evolution, and wants to make homosexual conduct a crime and restore a ban on gays serving in the military.

In his final pitch before polls opened across the state, Jones called the choice a "crossroads" and asked that "decency" prevail.

"We've had this history in the past, going down the road that ... has not been productive," Jones said. "We've lagged behind in industry. We've lagged behind in education. We've lagged behind in health care. It's time we take the road that's going to get us on the path to progress."

Information for this article was contributed by Kim Chandler, Steve Peoples, Bill Barrow and Emily Wagster Pettus of The Associated Press; by Sean Sullivan, David Weigel, David A. Fahrenthold, Elise Viebeck, Michael Scherer, Philip Rucker, Scott Clement, Larry Bleiberg and Jenna Johnson of The Washington Post; by Mark Z. Barabak and Lisa Mascaro of the Los Angeles Times; and by Arit John of Bloomberg News.

Photo by AP/BRYNN ANDERSON
Republican candidate Roy Moore views the returns Tuesday night in Montgomery. Moore declined to concede. “It’s not over,” he said. “We know that God is still in control.”

A Section on 12/13/2017

Print Headline: Jones triumphs in Alabama; Strong GOP state elects a Democrat

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  • RBear
    December 13, 2017 at 5:14 a.m.

    AL voters also sent a message to Trump that integrity matters which he should take to heart. The margin in the Senate is now 1 vote which means he has to thread a much smaller needle to get any legislative victories. Maybe it's time for him to start considering working WITH Democrats rather than dividing the nation.

  • WGT
    December 13, 2017 at 5:45 a.m.

    Good.
    .
    Good for Doug Jones.
    Good for Alabama.
    Good for the upcoming millennials in politics.
    Good riddance of Moore and his diseased trail of havoc.
    .
    Socialist Democrats will put together a comeback to counter the hubris, vanity, ignorance and caprice that the Republican Party has become. Republicans have utterly shredded any semblance of respect to the voter. Jones victory here will be a step in the direction this nation will now follow.

  • PopMom
    December 13, 2017 at 6:41 a.m.

    WGT,

    As David Gregory pointed out this morning, the Democrats are winning with centrists. The socialists only help elect Republicans. Just by mentioning the word "socialist," you are hurting the cause that you intend to help. While it is good that we picked up a Senate seat in the reddest state, the Democratic Party still is not popular in many parts of the nation. If the Republicans had not put up a pedophile, this would not have been a win.

  • RobertBolt
    December 13, 2017 at 6:44 a.m.

    Considering the impact of Trump’s endorsements, the Dems need him to hit the campaign trail hard during his remaining months in office.

  • 23cal
    December 13, 2017 at 6:46 a.m.

    if we compare turnout to the 2008 AL senate race, turnout was roughly 2 million. That means about 700-800k people who voted in 2008 stayed home. They couldn't bring themselves to vote for a Democrat, but there was something, or many things, about Roy Moore that was a dealbreaker to them.
    *
    Sessions won in 2014 with 97.3% of the vote. This wasn't just a win, it was a huge turnaround.
    *
    "The Republican also argued that a Muslim shouldn't be allowed to serve in the House because of his religion...." Did you see Moore's campaign manager on Tapper's show? He said the reason Moore believed this was because you have to be sworn in on a bible and a Muslim couldn't ethically swear on a bible. Tapper informed him otherwise and the guy did the mouth agape, slow blink, deer in the headlights look to perfection. Don't ever wonder why liberals talk to and about these rubes as if they are ignorant. They are.
    *
    Moore sidestepped questions about sexual misconduct as he arrived at his polling place on horseback. The horse was nervous. Hardly surprising......it was a 14 year old female.

  • ruyas4566
    December 13, 2017 at 6:49 a.m.

    Mʏ ʟᴀsᴛ ᴘᴀʏ ᴄʜᴇᴄᴋ ᴡᴀs $8500 ᴡᴏʀᴋɪɴɢ 10 ʜᴏᴜʀs ᴀ ᴡᴇᴇᴋ ᴏɴʟɪɴᴇ. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.

    Tʜɪs ɪs ᴡʜᴀt I ᴅᴏ...✧... w­w­w.T­a­g­3­0.c­o­m

  • PopMom
    December 13, 2017 at 7:17 a.m.

    I am decorating my Christmas tree this morning, and I am having trouble deciding what would be more festive--Christmas music or CNN.

  • RobertBolt
    December 13, 2017 at 7:50 a.m.

    Happy holidays, PopulistMom, as we enter the season of Festivus and celebrate our traditional airing of grievances. Join us as we gather around the poll (pun intended) and sing Have Yourself a Merry Little Trump Roast.

  • JakeTidmore
    December 13, 2017 at 8:01 a.m.

    From Rutrow at ARTimes (correcting the erroneous message I sent that only 2% difference was needed to trigger an automatic recount and adding a zinger):
    **
    ".....it's 0.5% for the automatic recount. And since the AL Supreme Court decided that all electronic voting results can be deleted immediately after the election, there can't be a recount.

    I'm laughing my 4$$ off because the AL Supremes thought that their ruling would prevent Jones from getting a recount. Karma bites!!!"

  • GDB58
    December 13, 2017 at 8:27 a.m.

    Dumocrats prevail...

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