Doug Jones defeats Roy Moore in Alabama: Here are 4 big takeaways

Alabama picked Jones, a Democrat, in a Tuesday special election for the U.S. Senate seat.
Author:
Publish date:
Doug Jones after winning the Alabama special election Tuesday.

Doug Jones after winning the Alabama special election Tuesday.

Doug Jones will be the next U.S. senator for Alabama.

Jones, a Democrat and former U.S. attorney, narrowly defeated embattled Republican candidate Roy Moore in a Tuesday special election 49.92 percent to 48.38 percent – a difference of 20,715 votes.

The 63-year-old Jones will hold the Senate seat at least through the current term, which ends in early 2021. Moore – shadowed by accusations he pursued, groped, or abused teenage girls as an adult, which he's denied – hasn't conceded as of Wednesday morning, CNN reports

1. Alabama votes blue for the first time since the '90s

Jones, with his victory, became the first Democrat to win a U.S. Senate election in Alabama since Howell T. Heflin, who won in 1990.

This seat was only open because of Jeff Sessions – when he was sworn in as U.S. attorney general in February, Republican Luther Strange was appointed to take over on an interim basis. But Strange only fills the position until the winner of Tuesday's special election is sworn in.

Jones, with his victory, will serve the rest of Sessions' original term, which runs through 2020. (This is similar to what will happen with Sen. Al Franken's seat.)

2. Write-ins may have had a big impact

Jones' victory was close, and write-ins may have been a significant factor.

As the New York Times points out, more than 22,000 people in Alabama (a generally conservative electorate) didn't vote for Jones or Moore – but instead wrote in their own candidate. Jones won by just over 20,700 votes.

3. This isn't automatic recount territory

Jones' victory margin was about 1.5 percent.

That's not close enough for an automatic recount (it needs to be within 0.5 percentage points), even though Moore said Tuesday night he wanted one, Huffington Post reported.

"When the vote is this close, it’s not over, and we still got to go by the rules,” he said.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told CNN a candidate could ask for a recall if they want to pay for it – but he wouldn't expect it to change the results.

4. The Republican Senate majority shrinks

The GOP has been nursing a small advantage in the U.S. Senate, holding 52 seats to the 48 held by Democrats and liberal Independents.

And even that margin has proved to be a challenge to navigate at times.

That's about to shrink to a 51-49 split – meaning Republicans can only lose one party member on simple majority votes (with a 50-50 tie broken by the vice president), and will need to convince nine Democrats to get on board for any measure requiring 60 votes.

So naturally Democrats such as Amy Klobuchar are happy.

At least one senator, Kamala Harris of California, wants Jones seated immediately, before any further vote on the divisive tax reform bill.

Next Up

Related