Alabama election: Doug Jones scores stunning win, but Moore won't concede

Doug Jones on Tuesday became the first Democrat in a generation to win a Senate seat in Alabama, CNN projects, beatin...

Posted: Dec 13, 2017 10:51 AM
Updated: Dec 13, 2017 10:51 AM

Doug Jones on Tuesday became the first Democrat in a generation to win a Senate seat in Alabama, CNN projects, beating Republican Roy Moore amid a firestorm of allegations that the GOP candidate had sexually abused teens.

Moore, however, refused to concede Tuesday night.

Stunning victory for Jones as he becomes first Democratic senator from Alabama in a generation

Moore is facing allegations of sexually abusing teens

A Democratic win narrows the GOP Senate majority to 51-49

"When the vote is this close ... it's not over," Moore told supporters after Jones declared victory.

The results are nothing short of an embarrassment for President Donald Trump and a disaster for Republicans in Washington as the reliably red state of Alabama elected its first Democratic senator since the early 1990s.

"I think I have been waiting all my life and now I don't know what the hell to say," Jones said Tuesday night.

"I am truly overwhelmed," he added. "We have shown, not just around the state of Alabama, but we have shown the country the way that we can be unified."

"This entire race has been about dignity and respect. This campaign -- this campaign has been about the rule of law," he said. "This campaign has been about common courtesy and decency and making sure everyone in this state, regardless of which ZIP code you live in, is going to get a fair shake in life."

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told CNN that while results are not yet certified, it is "highly unlikely" Jones will not be the winner of the Senate race.

"I would find that highly unlikely to occur ... there's not a whole of mistakes that are made," Merrill said.

Should the results hold, the Republican Party's narrow Senate majority will be trimmed to 51-49. And two wings -- the establishment led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and an insurgency led by former Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon -- are now in open civil war headed into an already fraught midterm election year.

It's an especially awkward outcome for Trump, who endorsed Moore on Twitter and rallied for him at a campaign event just across Alabama's state line.

Moore's defeat amid allegations of child molestation and sexual assault could fuel growing calls from Democrats for Trump to resign from office over the accusations of sexual assault against him.

Shortly after the race was called, Trump tweeted, "Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard fought victory. The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win. 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!"

Large African-American turnout carries Jones

Jones' victory was fueled by huge turnout -- and near-unanimous support -- from black voters.

Turnout was much stronger in heavily African-American counties, relative to recent presidential elections, than in rural, white counties.

CNN's exit poll found that 30% of the electorate was black -- a higher share than in the 2008 and 2012 elections, when Barack Obama was on the ballot. The exit poll showed that 96% of black voters backed Jones.

Jones cast the election as an opportunity for Alabama voters to reject the embarrassment he said Moore was sure to bring the state. His campaign focused heavily on turning out African-American voters in the run-up to election day, with civil rights icon and Georgia Rep. John Lewis, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and other black leaders hitting the trail alongside Jones.

"I love Alabama, but at some point we've got to draw a line in the sand and say, 'We're not a bunch of damn idiots,'" retired basketball star Charles Barkley, who played at Auburn University, said at Jones' election eve rally in Birmingham.

Moore's denials fall short

The Moore campaign's strategy for confronting the allegations was simple: Deflect and deny -- rolling out allies to praise Moore's character without ever directly answering questions about the specifics of the accusations.

His campaign seized on minor openings -- the location of the phone in one accuser's house; the date and location details another accuser had added to what she said was Moore's signature in her yearbook -- to attempt to broadly discredit the allegations.

Moore himself, meanwhile, all but disappeared from the campaign trail -- even taking a weekend trip to West Point with his wife on the weekend before the election.

How badly did the sexual allegations damage Moore? Exit polls were virtually split as to whether voters believed the allegations: 51% said they were probably or definitely true while 44% said they were probably or definitely false. A majority of the electorate, 57%, decided who to support before news of Moore's alleged child molestation and sexual assault broke in November.

Moore's campaign similarly deflected questions about his long history of controversial remarks -- including saying that homosexuality should be a crime and that Muslims should not be allowed in Congress.

RELATED: Alabama race: Exit poll updates

It all culminated in a bizarre election eve rally in Midland City, in which an Army friend described Moore deciding to leave a brothel in Vietnam and his wife Kayla Moore responding to Moore being portrayed as anti-Semitic over his attacks on Jewish progressive mega-donor George Soros by declaring, "One of our attorneys is a Jew."

Moore had hung the election's results on his own character Monday night.

"I'm going to tell you," he said then, "if you don't believe in my character, don't vote for me."

McConnell, establishment GOP abandoned Moore

McConnell decided Moore wasn't worth the headache and withdrew support for him -- which means the Senate Republican campaign arm and a super PAC that usually backs its candidates were nowhere to be found in the closing weeks in Alabama.

RELATED: Where Republican senators stand on Roy Moore

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 501097

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34338538
DeSoto32117403
Hinds31939628
Jackson24494382
Rankin21995390
Lee15543235
Madison14581280
Jones13851242
Forrest13453251
Lauderdale11991317
Lowndes11050188
Lamar10521135
Pearl River9533237
Lafayette8550140
Hancock7732127
Washington7438158
Oktibbeha7146131
Monroe6777177
Warren6694176
Pontotoc6664102
Neshoba6637206
Panola6531131
Marshall6467134
Bolivar6317148
Union602894
Pike5820152
Alcorn5669101
Lincoln5436135
George496879
Scott472898
Tippah469281
Prentiss467281
Leflore4658144
Itawamba4636105
Tate4588111
Adams4587119
Copiah448592
Simpson4446116
Yazoo444187
Wayne439772
Covington428894
Sunflower4239105
Marion4226108
Coahoma4160105
Leake408288
Newton381779
Grenada3707108
Stone360364
Tishomingo359792
Attala331589
Jasper329965
Winston314291
Clay308076
Chickasaw300367
Clarke292494
Calhoun279446
Holmes267987
Smith264050
Yalobusha234047
Tallahatchie228051
Greene219348
Walthall218763
Lawrence212940
Perry205556
Amite205156
Webster202946
Noxubee186740
Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171743
Carroll169138
Tunica159839
Benton148838
Kemper141941
Choctaw133426
Claiborne132737
Humphreys129538
Franklin120228
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64120
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 818652

Reported Deaths: 15378
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1147091924
Mobile724971336
Madison52231697
Shelby37575349
Baldwin37224549
Tuscaloosa35073612
Montgomery34092739
Lee23519246
Calhoun22221482
Morgan20910378
Etowah19816498
Marshall18338303
Houston17360412
St. Clair16034339
Cullman15406293
Limestone15328199
Elmore15186286
Lauderdale14270295
Talladega13827281
DeKalb12637261
Walker11180370
Blount10179176
Autauga9967148
Jackson9860183
Coffee9205191
Dale8884185
Colbert8840201
Tallapoosa7079198
Escambia6766132
Covington6706183
Chilton6633161
Russell635259
Franklin5959105
Chambers5607142
Marion4995126
Dallas4949200
Pike4791105
Clarke475484
Geneva4568127
Winston4507103
Lawrence4309117
Bibb424686
Barbour357576
Marengo337890
Monroe331463
Randolph329864
Butler325896
Pickens315682
Henry311966
Hale311188
Cherokee302360
Fayette292379
Washington251351
Cleburne247460
Crenshaw244875
Clay243068
Macon234163
Lamar223347
Conecuh185953
Coosa180040
Lowndes174764
Wilcox168739
Bullock151644
Perry138340
Sumter132938
Greene126644
Choctaw88227
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Clear cool and dry to begin your weekend, but both afternoons should be a little bit above what we expect for this time of year temperature wise. Rain chances begin to return late Sunday night, with at least two chances for storms over the next week, summer could be strong.
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