On December 12, 2017, in a shocking turn of events, Democrat Doug Jones beat Republican Roy Moore for Alabama’s senate seat.
Alabama, one of the nation’s most conservative states, has not seen a democratic senator in nearly twenty-five years. Jones won by 1.5% or around 21,000 votes. Tuesday night was nail-biting tight - during the first half of the night, Moore seemed to be winning. However, as the votes from larger counties such as Jefferson and Montgomery came in, Jones pulled ahead.
Jones’ win can be attributed to several factors.
First, he ran a expertly-planned campaign, initially utilizing resources such as Charles Barkley, a former NBA star, and Uzo Aduba, an actor from Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black.” Eventually, Jones brought in more big-name politicians, such as former president Barack Obama and rising Democrat Cory Booker. He also campaigned heavily in African American, young, and populous areas. Jones’ “claim to fame” was his leading role in prosecuting Ku Klux Klan members. Notably, he was responsible for successfully prosecuting the men behind the Birmingham Baptist Church bombing, which killed four young black girls.
Secondly, many Republicans and others opted to write in a name. About 23,000 votes were write-ins. In such a close election, these write-in votes really made a difference. The write-in votes signify that Alabamians are taking a stand against Roy Moore and everything he stands for. The tremendous number of write-ins can, in-part, be attributed to Alabama senator Richard Shelby. While Shelby is a staunch Republican, he chose not to support Moore and publicly encouraged voters to also write in names.
Lastly, Jones competing against a seriously flawed candidate. While some of Moore’s early decisions, policies, and statements fit the needs of voters, the multitude of allegations of sexually abusing minors struck many as unethical. In response to the eight accusers, Moore repeatedly denied the allegations and claimed to not know the women. However, given the hard evidence of Moore’s relationships with these women, such as pictures of them with him and a yearbook he signed, it seems likely that he really did commit these heinous and perverted crimes.
While Jones likely will not serve as senator beyond 2020, his defeat of Moore represents an important day for Democrats and Republicans alike. For Democrats, Jones’ win can be seen as a confidence boost as the 2018 senatorial elections approach. Additionally, it serves as a protest of candidates endorsed by President Donald Trump, as well as people who run on a platform similar to his. For Republicans, Jones’ win prevented a further schism within the party. Most prominent Republicans did not support Moore and felt uncomfortable about his potential presence in the senate. Furthermore, Moore’s loss demonstrates that the Republican party will not support a pedophile and can “draw the line” somewhere. Their stand against Moore could represent a new era of Republicanism.
As of December 14, 2017, Moore has still not conceded. If he wants a recount, it will have to be self-sponsored, as the margin of Jones’ win is too great by law to qualify for a state-sponsored recount.