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US Senate race: Doug Jones prepares for December; Strange allies rally behind Moore

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

As former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore celebrates his victory in the race against U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., his Democratic opponent, former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, prepares to face him in December.

“This just got real,” Jones wrote on Twitter after various news organizations called the Republican runoff for Moore. Afterwards, Jones called for more volunteers to join his campaign.

“Even though I was not on the ballot today, our campaign has been building momentum for weeks with hundreds of volunteers signing up to join our effort, Republicans reaching out to us throughout the state, and our campaign just finished our strongest week of fundraising,” Jones said in a statement after the runoff was over.

A poll by Emerson college conducted last week has Jones polling just 4 percentage points behind Moore. This put Jones in a statistical tie with Moore in the general election considering the poll’s margin of error.

While Jones prepares, others in the state deal with Strange’s decisive defeat that left him with only 45 percent of the vote.

The Super PAC Senate Leadership Fund, which spent millions of dollars in the race, conceded defeat early in the night. Steven Law, Senate Leadership Fund’s president and CEO, said they were “honored” to fight for Strange.

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“While we were honored to have fought hard for Big Luther, Judge Roy Moore won this nomination fair and square and he has our support, as it is vital that we keep this seat in Republican hands,” Law said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also congratulated Moore on his victory. McConnell called for Republicans around the state to “redouble their efforts” to get Moore elected.

“I share the frustration and believe that enacting the agenda the American people voted for last November requires us all to work together,” McConnell said in a statement. “We look forward to Judge Moore’s help enacting that agenda when he arrives.”

Strange, at his campaign headquarters in Birmingham, said the campaign was difficult to run given the current political environment.

“The political seas, the political winds in this country right now are very hard to navigate,” Strange said.

President Donald Trump, who endorsed and campaigned for Strange, congratulated Moore on his victory on Twitter and directed Moore to “WIN in Dec!”

Trump told a crowd at a rally in Huntsville on Friday that he would “campaign like hell” for Moore if he won the nomination. He was in Huntsville to campaign for Strange.

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The president had reportedly begun to distance himself from Strange on Monday according to Politico. Trump even deleted pro-Strange tweets on election night after it became clear Moore would win.

Even before election night, Trump had told the crowd in Huntsville on Friday that he “might have made a mistake” in endorsing Strange.

Moore received support from several key Trump supporters, including former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.

Moore and Jones will now go to a general election in December to decide who will fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by Jeff Sessions appointment to U.S. attorney general.

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