Last night, Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore in a special election to fill Alabama’s Senate seat. The seat had been left open when Jeff Sessions was appointed Attorney General, and temporarily filled by Luther Strange at Alabama Governor Kay Ivey’s appointment. Strange was defeated by Moore in a primary election earlier this year.
Jones previously served as US attorney for northern Alabama, where he conducted the long-delayed prosecution of the Ku Klux Klan members responsible for the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. The bombing killed four girls. Prior to the race, Moore was most well-known for having once resigned and once been removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for defying the orders of higher courts.
The turning point in the race came when the Washington Post published allegations that Moore had repeatedly sexually harassed teenage girls when he was in his 30s and serving as a district attorney. Many prominent Republicans, including Alabama’s other Senator, Richard Shelby, abandoned Moore, though he retained the support of the Republican National Committee, Breitbart News editor Steve Bannon, and President Trump.
As of this writing, the final precincts are still being tallied, but early numbers indicate that Moore was defeated by a combination of low turnout in deeply Republican, rural, white counties and high turnout in deeply Democratic, urban, black counties. Such high turnout is especially unusual given that this was a special election in an off year.
Jones will not take his seat until all votes have been counted, the election is certified, and the Senate notified. In previous special elections, this has taken several weeks, and is likely to do so here, particularly with the holidays approaching.