Democrat Doug Jones Pulls Off Upset to Win Alabama Senate Seat

Prior to 2016, a Democratic win in a special election would have been unimaginable in Alabama, one of the reddest states in the country. In fact, it had been decades since Alabama voters elected a Democrat to the Senate, and last year the state overwhelmingly voted in favor of President Donald Trump.

Oh, what a difference a year makes.

Given the volatility of the current political landscape, the GOP has now learned that there is, in fact, such a thing as a Republican candidate too repugnant to win a statewide vote. Roy Moore — twice kicked off the state supreme court, openly and zealotly homophobic, racist, sexist and accused of pursuing teen girls less than half his age — ended up being a candidate simply too awful for many in the state to support. And that caused reliable GOP voters who showed up in droves in 2016 to simply stay home from the polls.

Jones is expected to achieve the narrowest of victories — between one and two percent of the total vote, and one that well may be under the percentage of write-in votes for the election. But the fact that he was even competitive at all demonstrates just how little Republican leaders could do to make up for their party’s poor choice of candidate.

By the end of the campaign, Moore had managed to nab the support of nearly all of the GOP — from the RNC and the president of the United States to the far-right Tea Party wing under control of former presidential adviser and Breitbart publisher Steve Bannon.

The mainstream GOP argued that voting for Moore was the only way to keep the party in power and keep President Trump’s agenda on track. And Tea Party members maintained that supporting Moore was a way to stick it to the Republican establishment. In the end, neither reason appealed to the normally conservative voters who either wrote in a candidate, cast their vote for Jones or simply didn’t vote at all.

It’s easy to say that the GOP soundly lost an easy victory, but that discounts the massive effort put in by those who voted to put Jones in office. While GOP voter turnout — primarily white voter turnout — was lower than in previous elections, the turnout among people of color was far larger than any recent election in the state.

This was especially impressive in the face of the rampant reports of voter suppression and voter intimidation happening at primarily black polling sites across the state, ranging from broken machines and repeated demands for voter ID to implications that voters would be checked for outstanding warrants if they cast their votes.

Even with these roadblocks in place, African American voters came out in massive numbers to cast their ballots for the Democratic candidate. “Fully 96 percent of African Americans supported Jones, similar to President Obama’s 95 percent support among this group in 2012,” the Washington Post reports from its exit polls.

In comparison, Moore was supported by two-thirds of all white voters, including a 28 percent lead with white women over Jones. And that’s despite Moore’s predatory history with teens, his campaign stump speech asserting that birth control and abortion should both be inaccessible and his beliefs that women shouldn’t even be allowed to run for public office.

This victory now gives another seat to the Democrats, leaving the GOP with just 51 seats. However, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has already stated that Jones will not be seated until 2018, after the current session wraps. Sitting Republican Senator Luther Strange will remain to cast votes until the session closes — assumed to be December 22. And Alabama will not likely certify the election until December 26 at the earliest.

Jones will be up for reelection in 2020.

Photo credit: Doug Jones for U.S. Senate

46 comments

Marie W
Marie W15 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Mary B
Mary B6 months ago

Joan M, It's past my bed time. I mis-read your last sentence to read "Congress belongs to us all and shouldn't be managed by a fairy."

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E6 months ago

Deborah w
Yet another garbled post.
Mr Jones won the election for senator in Alabama. End of statement. If YOU choose to have a sexual abuser like trump in the senate, that's on you.
Neither one seem to know the constitution OR rules of law. Your country, your problems (Until the trash spills over into other countries like MINE)

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Deborah W
Deborah W6 months ago

To the confused (you know who you are) ... NO, not Trump et. al. Surprised you didn't get the BO still drifting in the air from his remains, much less the "nerve center" of his current attempts. OFA is a big deal ...

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Ruth S
Ruth S6 months ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M6 months ago

Noted.

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Lisa M
Lisa M6 months ago

Noted.

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E6 months ago

Deborah W
As usual, your posts seldom make sense in a cohesive way. Is YOUR light off because it seems it hasn't reached YOUR corners.
It is trump et al spreading fear and lies that can be easily proven.
The closer it gets to trump the more idiotic and mean he and his followers get.
Be careful in 2018.

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Deborah W
Deborah W6 months ago

A miniscule win at best. Thing to watch for now is the OFA, with home/headquarters a mere mile or so from the White House, and multiple branches set up to leap on every possible additional inroad, with the help of a frenzied media ... all playing on the fear and anxieties of those in power and control, the uneducated, already marginalized, disabled, homeless, hopeless, etc. EVIL has a name ... and a leader, in the shadows as is everything dark. Takes time for the light to reach into all the corners, but it will be done ...

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara6 months ago

th

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