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Democrat wrests Alabama Senate seat in a setback for Prez Trump

Democrat wrests Alabama Senate seat in a setback for Prez Trump
December 13
11:28 2017

WASHINGTON: Doug Jones today became the first Democrat in 25 years to win a Senate seat from the staunchly Republican state of Alabama, defeating President Donald Trump-backed candidate Roy Moore, whose campaign was dogged by allegations that he had sexually abused teenagers.

Moore’s defeat marks a major political blow to Trump, who endorsed the Alabama Republican and held a rally on his behalf. Although most national Republicans rushed to distance themselves from Moore following the allegations against him, Trump reaffirmed his support to the firebrand conservative through tweets and public statements.

With all counties reporting, the Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill reported Jones with 49.92 per cent of the vote, and Moore with 48.38 per cent of the vote.

“Thank You Alabama!” Jones, 63, tweeted.

But Moore has so far refused to concede. “When the vote is this close … it’s not over,” the 70- year-old told supporters after Jones declared victory in a special election.

The margin of victory is well above the half a percentage point which would have triggered a recount.

The new Senator would be sworn in next year.

This is for the first time in a quarter century that a Democrat has won a Senate seat in a Republican stronghold of Alabama.

The unexpected victory of Jones also narrows the Republican majority in the 100-member Senate to 51-49.

During the brutal campaign, Moore faced allegations that he had molested or pursued relationships with teenage girls in the 1970s when he was in his 30s and an assistant district attorney.

Trump congratulated Jones for his “hard fought” victory. “Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard-fought victory,” Trump tweeted. “The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win,” Trump said in his first reaction.

“The people of Alabama are great, and the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never ends!” tweeted the US President.

“Democrats pull off an upset in Alabama,” The New York Times said as it declared victory for Jones. It described the victory of Jones as a rare Democratic victory in a staunchly Republican state.

“The race captivated the nation, not only for its debates over party loyalty and morality, but also for its also immense implications for both parties and the Trump presidency,” the paper said.

The Washington Post described Jones’ victory as a “shocking upset” in a solidly Republican state.

According to Time magazine, Jones’ victory in Alabama, “was arguably aided by the rocky candidacy” of Moore. With this victory, Jones a former US attorney, has become the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Alabama since 1992.

“Doug Jones will be an outstanding Senator who will represent Alabama well. He was a great candidate and will be an even better Senator,” Senate Minority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer said.

Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said Jones’ win was a massive victory for the country.

“In a sharp rebuke of Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and their anti-American, hate-filled agenda, voters in Alabama blocked a pedophile bigot from serving in the US Senate.

Tonight s victory is a testament to the power of organizing and mobilizing,” Jayapal said.

Allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore drew national attention to the special election. The claims against Moore came amid a wave of allegations of sexual misconduct against several prominent men in the world of politics, entertainment and media.-PTI

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