By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, seizing on the shock and awe of a Democrat winning a statewide election in Alabama, is refusing to concede the election to his challenger, Democrat Doug Jones, who appears to have won the election by at least 20,000 votes and 1.5 percentage points, despite the fact that Moore’s own party and its leadership, both at home and in Washington, has congratulated Jones on his win.
Moore put out a scopious video statement Wednesday at 9:15 p.m., nearly 24 hours after the election had been called for Jones by most media outlets. In the statement, Moore again refuses to concede, saying the “battle rages on.”
“In this race, we have not received the final count to include military and provisional ballots,” Moore said. “This has been a very close race and we are awaiting certification by the Secretary of State.”
Jones, a former U.S. attorney who will now represent Alabama in Washington as its junior senator, won election Tuesday night in a historic upset that shocked onlookers around the world. The Real Clear Politics average of polls showed Moore up going into the election, but Jones came out on top thanks to a large turnout from black voters, millennials and women who flooded to the polls in urban and suburban counties.
Barring any major issues or problems, which the Secretary of State John Merrill says is unlikely, Jones has solidly won the election. Alabama law only calls for an automatic re-count if the spread between the two candidates is less than 0.5 percent. Provisional ballots and military ballots are unlikely to move the needle that much in Moore’s favor.
“Folks, and you have all heard me say this at one point or another in this campaign, I have always believed that the people of Alabama have more in common than divides us,” Jones said at an electric victory party Tuesday in Birmingham. “We have shown not just around the state of Alabama but we have shown the country the way that we can be unified.”
Republicans from their state headquarters in Birmingham to their national headquarters in Washington have conceded the election to Jones. GOP Chairwoman Terry Lathan said the ALGOP will hold Jones accountable for his votes.
“During this campaign, we heard Mr. Jones repeatedly say he would talk about ‘kitchen table issues’ and that he would ‘reach across the aisle’ to work with Republicans,” she said. “While these issues weren’t discussed and no other Democratic Senator has worked with the Republicans, all eyes will be on his votes. Alabamians will watch the issues he will support or try to stop. We will hold him accountable for his votes.”
Jones’ stunning upset is the first time Alabama has voted for a Democratic senator since 1992, when then-Democratic Sen. Richard Shelby was re-elected to his second term. Just two years later, Shelby would become a Republican as the state continued on a shift toward the red. Democratic Sen. Howell Heflin, a longtime Alabama statesman, held on to his seat until deciding not to run for re-election in 1996. He later died in 2005.
Moore had been dogged by sexual assault allegations and accusations of misconduct with several young women, dating back to when he was an assistant district attorney in Etowah County in the 1970s and 80s.
Sen. Richard Shelby, who lent an air of authority to Jones’ campaign when he told his constituents he couldn’t vote for Moore and would instead cast a write-in ballot, said he was proud of Alabama voters for their decision.
“The people of Alabama have spoken,” Shelby said in a statement to APR. “Congratulations to Doug Jones. I spoke with him this morning, and I look forward to working together to do what’s best for the great state of Alabama.”
Jones said Wednesday at a press conference that he received congratulatory calls from Shelby, sitting Alabama Sen. Luther Strange, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and President Donald Trump.
“It was a very gracious call. I very much appreciate it. He congratulated me on the race that we won. He congratulated me and my staff on the manner in which we handled this campaign and went forward. And we talked about finding that common ground, to work together,” Jones said.
In a race that attracted a massive national viewership, Trump chose to weigh in, first supporting sitting Alabama Strange in the primaries, and after a loss there, he moved his support to Moore. From the primaries to the general, Alabama twice delivered him losses.
Jones has not received a concession call from Moore. Instead, Moore criticized American culture and life in his video statement, saying the country is losing its moral values.
“Today, we no longer recognize the universal truth that God is the author of our life and liberty,” Moore said. “Abortion, sodomy, and materialism have taken the place of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”