More than two weeks after Democrat Doug Jones was declared the winner of Alabama's special Senate election, his Republican opponent, Roy Moore, filed a lawsuit attempting to block the results, CNN reports. The complaint calls for an investigation into possible voter fraud and a new special election. "This is not a Republican or Democrat issue as election integrity should matter to everyone," Moore said in a statement.
Jones won the election by more than 20,000 votes, but Moore has refused to concede. His statement says the Dec. 12 vote was riddled with "irregularities," such as a higher-than-expected voter turnout in some counties. Throughout the race, Moore was accused by multiple women of unwanted sexual advances when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. He denied the allegations.
Moore's complaint came just hours before Jones was to be officially declared the election's winner on Thursday. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told The Associated Press that the certification will likely go forward as planned, and Jones will be sworn in on Jan. 3. Moore is the first Republican to lose a U.S. Senate race in the state in 25 years. Jessica Hullinger
Many Republicans in Washington are breathing a not-so-quiet sigh of relief after their party's candidate, Roy Moore, lost the Alabama Senate race to Democrat Doug Jones on Tuesday night. Had Moore been elected, it would have put many members in an awkward spot, as Moore has been accused of having pursued, molested, and assaulted teenage girls.
As recently as Tuesday night, Republicans had planned to gather Wednesday morning if Moore won the election to discuss the best course of action. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reportedly said himself that if Moore was elected, he would immediately need to undergo an ethics probe.
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) admitted that while he's upset about having lost the Alabama seat to the rival party, he is "relieved we're not going to be dealing with all the mess that was headed our way." Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) agreed, saying he was "proud" of Alabama's choice and "relieved" to have dodged the Moore bullet. Or, as a senior Republican strategist put it to the Washington Examiner: "We didn't just dodge a bullet, we dodged a missile."
Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake (R) also expressed his satisfaction with the results of the election:
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) December 13, 2017
Ohio governor and former Republican presidential candidate John Kasich summed it up: "Thankfully, today enough Republicans chose country over party," he tweeted. "Tomorrow we must redouble our efforts to support candidates worthy of the office they seek." Jeva Lange
Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore in Alabama's special Senate election Tuesday night, becoming the first Democrat to win an upper-chamber seat in the Yellowhammer State in 25 years. Jones' triumph came as a shocker in the solidly red state, where the national Democratic Party deployed a massive turnout operation to squeeze out the diverse voters necessary to propel the former prosecutor to office.
For those waking up in Alabama on Wednesday morning, local papers had a variety of stark reactions to the state's newest senator. Take a tour of a few front pages below — or see more via the Newseum here. Kimberly Alters
— AL.com (@aldotcom) December 13, 2017
— Meghan Gordon (@meghangordon) December 13, 2017
— EditorBobDavis (@EditorBobDavis) December 13, 2017
Doug Jones, a Democrat and former federal prosecutor, beat Republican Roy Moore in Alabama's special Senate election on Tuesday night. Alabama is a solidly red state whose last elected Democrat in the Senate, Richard Shelby, switched parties in the '90s. "What went right for Jones?" asked Steve Kornacki on MSNBC Tuesday night. "Well, first of all, the answer is basically everything went right. If you're a Democrat and you're winning by 20,000 votes, a tiny margin, but you need everything to break your way."
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) December 13, 2017
Specifically, according to exit polls, Jones won 96 percent of black voters, and turnout was high in Alabama's "black belt." He also beat Moore among younger voters (62 percent to 36 percent), and in the counties with the two biggest universities, Auburn and University of Alabama, both of which President Trump won last year. Also, turnout was lower in strongly Republican counties, Kornacki said. "You didn't have Republicans in these counties going out and switching parties and voting Democrat, you just didn't have them coming out at all. They weren't turning out, they weren't energized, and again, in these Democratic areas, you saw the opposite."
There were 22,780 write-in votes, presumably mostly from Republicans who couldn't vote for Moore, and 91 percent of voters said the candidate's personal morality was important to their vote, versus 88 percent who said that about which party controls Congress. Jones leads by 1.5 percentage points in the unofficial tally, and Moore has not yet conceded. Peter Weber
"Rarely has a sitting president rallied behind such a scandal-plagued candidate the way Donald Trump did with Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore," says Julie Pace at The Associated Press. "And rarely has that bet failed so spectacularly." One senior administration official told Politico that Tuesday's victory for Democrat Doug Jones "is a big black eye for the president," and Politico added that "it was a self-inflicted wound."
Trump's first reaction to Moore's loss, "a demure Twitter post congratulating Doug Jones" that Trump sent "while in the White House residence, alone for much of the evening, with the first lady out of town," wasn't expected to be his last word, Maggie Haberman reports at The New York Times. "White House aides on Tuesday night were bracing for fallout, in person and on Twitter," as Trump absorbed the loss. Advisers conceded that Trump "rarely assumes responsibility for a misstep, and they anticipated him looking for someone to blame," the Times adds, but the question was who. On Wednesday morning, Trump blamed "the deck":
The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election. I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2017
Trump aides and advisers "spun the loss as belonging squarely to Mr. Moore," arguing that "Trump could not drag someone that weak over the finish line against a crush of outside spending," Haberman reports, but White House aides really hoped Stephen Bannon would get the blame. Trump was "enraged when his daughter Ivanka Trump got ahead of him by declaring there was a 'special place in hell' for people who harm children," meaning Moore, she adds, but "one White House adviser said that Mr. Trump was unlikely to blame his daughter." You can read more at The New York Times. Peter Weber
Republican Roy Moore lost a Senate race in Alabama on Tuesday, despite full-throated support from President Trump, but Trump backed the other guy in the Republican primary, Fox News political editor Chris Stirewalt said Tuesday night. "This is something that Stephen Bannon and his acolytes are going to have to think about now," he said. "Donald Trump was right about the Alabama primary; Steve Bannon, the president's chief political adviser during the campaign, was wrong."
Heading into 2018, Stirewalt said, Republicans and the Bannonites are going to figure out "how much of this primary battle stuff do they want to do? How much of this civil war stuff do they want to do? And what other seats could it cost them?" Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is "thinking very much about the 2018 midterm elections," he added. "Having Roy Moore serving [in] the United States Senate might have cost multiple seats for Republicans. You can't know, it's all hypotheticals as you play it out — but having Roy Moore as a sitting U.S. senator ... was going to be trouble for the rest of his party." In politics, Stirewelt said, "winning is always better than losing, but this may be one where the silver lining is quite considerable."
Conservative Republicans in Alabama had a tough choice between helping their party in Washington and making themselves a national laughingstock, Stirewalt said. "Kookism is not something Alabamians are particularly interested in associating themselves with," and Roy Moore was a bridge too far. "I think that's where you get those tens of thousands of write-in votes," he added, "where they're saying, 'I'm not going to vote for the Democrat,' but — I think it's important — they're saying, 'I want you to know I was here ... and if you wouldn't have failed me, I would have been there for you." Peter Weber
The Republican Party is in for some more turmoil after Democrat Doug Jones beat Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for a Senate seat in deeply Republican Alabama on Tuesday night. CNN gave the GOP a little taste of what's to come in the panel discussion after Jones declared victory, and moderator Don Lemon essentially stood back and watched the free-for-all over who will be hurt the most by Moore's loss.
Ed Martin, the Moore backer, picked the Senate majority leader and Sen. Cory Gardner (Colo.), head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, both of whom immediately pointed the finger at President Trump's former campaign chairman and chief strategist, Stephen Bannon. "Mitch McConnell is going to pay a price, and so is Cory Gardner," he said. "The grassroots is not tolerating the party." "Traditional Republican" Ana Navarro said Trump and other pro-Moore Republicans chose to abandon morals, decency, and convictions rather than abandon Moore, chided Martin for constantly interrupting her, and sang "Happy days are here again."
The Martin-Navarro fight had panelists doubled over in laugher, then Bloomberg's Joshua Green threw Martin "a lifeline," saying the "Bannon wing of the Republican Party is very upset" by Moore's abandonment and is promising a more vicious GOP civil war. Conservative columnist Matt Lewis asked how it was McConnell's fault that "Steve Bannon and Donald Trump endorsed a candidate who is a very bad candidate."
CNN's Jake Tapper went with Trump. The loss of a Senate seat will make passing GOP policies even harder, he said, but "I have to say, this is a huge defeat for President Trump. This is deep-red Alabama, President Trump made the calculation that he was going to double down, he was going to stick with this candidate, the candidate who followed the Trump playbook — when there are allegations against you, just deny them all and attack the people accusing you — and it failed." Peter Weber
On Monday night, Charles Barkley had a message for the voters of Alabama: Show the country "we're not a bunch of damn idiots" by electing Democrat Doug Jones to the Senate. After Jones' victory on Tuesday night, Barkley delivered another message, this time to the Democratic Party: "Start making life better for black folks and people who are poor."
The NBA legend and Alabama native spoke to CNN shortly after Jones won Tuesday night, saying he was "so proud of my state" because they "rose up today." By giving Jones a narrow victory — he defeated Republican Roy Moore by about 21,000 votes — it was a "wake-up call for Democrats," Barkley said, adding: "They've taken the black vote and the poor vote for granted for a long time. It's time for them to get off their ass and start making life better for black folks and people who are poor. They've always had our votes, and they've abused our votes, and this is a wake-up call. We're in a great position now, but this is a wake-up call for Democrats to do better for black people and poor white people."
The Washington Post's exit polls found that 96 percent of black voters cast their ballots for Jones, while 98 percent of black women and 93 percent of black men believed the accusations of sexual misconduct made against Moore. Catherine Garcia