Democrat Doug Jones wins Alabama Senate seat

NOW: Democrat Doug Jones wins Alabama Senate seat

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on Alabama's U.S. Senate election (all times local):

6:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump is defending his decision to initially back Sen. Luther Strange against Roy Moore in Alabama's Senate election, saying in a predawn tweet that "Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him."

"I was right!" the president said in a pre-dawn Twitter post Wednesday, a day after Democrat Doug Jones narrowly defeated Moore, a former state Supreme Court chief justice who was buffeted by allegations of sexual misconduct.
Trump notes in his social media post that the reason he originally sided with Strange was that "I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election."

The president had sent a tweet late Tuesday congratulating Jones, a former federal prosecutor, on his "hard fought victory."

3:40 a.m.

In a stunning victory aided by scandal, Democrat Doug Jones won Alabama's special Senate election, beating back history, an embattled Republican opponent and President Donald Trump, who urgently endorsed GOP rebel Roy Moore despite a litany of sexual misconduct allegations.

It was the first Democratic Senate victory in a quarter-century in Alabama, one of the reddest of red states, and proved anew that party loyalty is anything but certain in the age of Trump. Tuesday's Republican loss was a major embarrassment for the president and a fresh wound for the nation's already divided GOP.

"We have shown not just around the state of Alabama, but we have shown the country the way — that we can be unified," Jones declared as supporters in a Birmingham ballroom cheered, danced and cried tears of joy. Still in shock, the Democrat struggled for words: "I think that I have been waiting all my life, and now I just don't know what the hell to say."

10:40 p.m.

Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore is not conceding to Democrat Doug Jones, telling campaign supporters "it's not over."

"It's going to take some time," the candidate says during a brief appearance before supporters.

Campaign chairman Bill Armistead says that because the vote is close and approaching the state's recount requirement, "we do not have a final decision on the outcome."

Alabama state law calls for a recount if the margin of victory is less than one-half of one percentage point. With all precincts reporting, Jones leads by 1.5 percentage points — three times what's required to trigger a recount.

If the secretary of state determines there were more write-in votes than the difference between Jones and Moore, the state's counties would be required to tally those votes. It's not clear how that would help Moore, who ended the night trailing Jones by more than 20,000 votes.


10:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump has congratulated Democrat Doug Jones on a "hard fought" win in Alabama, adding Republicans will have "another shot" at the Senate seat.

Trump backed Republican Roy Moore in the race, despite the multiple allegations of sexual impropriety against Moore. Trump cited the need for GOP votes on his legislative agenda.

Trump says on Twitter, "The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win."

Jones' victory will narrow the Senate Republican majority to 51-49. His term lasts until January 2021.


10:05 p.m.

Alabama senator-elect Doug Jones says his victory over Republican Roy Moore in Tuesday's special election marks a moment for national unity.

"I have always believed that the people of Alabama have more in common than divides us," Moore tells supporters at his campaign victory rally. "We have shown the country the way that we can be."

Jones, an attorney and former federal prosecutor, says he is "overwhelmed" by his upset win over Moore, who faced multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment.

"At the end of the day, this entire race has been about dignity and respect," Jones says.

Jones says his campaign was about "finding common ground," and is encouraging lawmakers in Washington to work together to fund the children's health insurance program before he is seated.


10 p.m.

Democrat Doug Jones' upset win in Alabama's Senate race has exposed the divisions within the GOP, pitting the establishment against former White House strategist Steve Bannon.

Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida says in a tweet: "The people of #Alabama put country first tonight by rejecting the disgusting Roy Moore. Congratulations to the Bannon wing of the @GOP for gifting a seat to @SenateDems in one of the reddest states. You have no future in our country's politics."

Bannon had backed Republican Roy Moore. Washington Republicans had favored Sen. Luther Strange and had called on Moore to step aside when allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced.


9:55 p.m.

Gleeful Senate Democrats are welcoming Doug Jones' upset win in Alabama's special election.

"Hot Damn," tweeted New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan.

"Thank you Alabama!" tweeted Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Jones on Tuesday stunned Republican Roy Moore, who faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. Once sworn in, Jones will serve the remainder of former Sen. Jeff Sessions' term through 2020.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, who faces re-election next year, says: "I am grateful to the women who had the courage to come forward. Because of them and so many others like them, we are seeing meaningful change. I look forward to finding opportunities to work with Doug Jones in the Senate to support middle-class families."


9:50 p.m.

Democratic Party chairman Tom Perez says Alabama senator-elect Doug Jones "made history" Tuesday when he defeated Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama special election.

"This election wasn't about right versus left, it was about right versus wrong," Perez says. Moore faced multiple accusations of sexual misconduct, but retained the backing of President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee.

Perez argues that Alabama voters didn't just reject Moore, but "embraced Doug Jones and the Democratic Party's vision for a brighter future."

He says, "They joined millions of voters across the country who are standing up to Donald Trump and the GOP's radical agenda by making their voices heard and electing Democrats up and down the ballot."

Democrats are hoping the upset victory to give them momentum for the 2018 midterm elections.


9:45 p.m.

Alabama Republican Roy Moore's campaign manager says the candidate is not yet conceding the U.S. Senate race.

Rich Hobson told a somber crowd at Moore's election night gathering that: "Some people are calling it. We are not calling it."

The Associated Press declared at 9:24 p.m. that Democrat Doug Jones had won election to the U.S. Senate seat from Alabama.

Hobson says the margin is thin and there are still votes to be counted. He is asking Moore's supporters to pray.


9:40 p.m.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer is praising Alabama senator-elect Doug Jones after his upset victory in Tuesday's special election.

"Doug Jones will be an outstanding senator who will represent Alabama well," Schumer says. "He was a great candidate and will be an even better senator."

Calling Republican Roy Moore, who faced multiple accusations of sexual impropriety, "an awful candidate," Schumer is seeking to tout Democratic momentum going into the 2018 midterm elections.

"Make no mistake about it, just like in Virginia, Democrats are energized, focused on the middle class and those struggling to get there, and things are looking better and better for 2018," he says.


9:35 p.m.

The chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee says Democrat Doug Jones' victory in the Alabama special election was a referendum on defeated GOP candidate Roy Moore.

"Tonight's results are clear — the people of Alabama deemed Roy Moore unfit to serve in the U.S. Senate," says Sen. Cory Gardner, who withdrew his committee's endorsement of Moore following allegations of sexual misconduct.

The NRSC declined to back Moore after President Donald Trump re-endorsed the embattled candidate in the waning days of the campaign.

"I hope Senator-elect Doug Jones will do the right thing and truly represent Alabama by choosing to vote with the Senate Republican Majority," Gardner says.


9:24 p.m. CST

Democrat Doug Jones has won election to the U.S. Senate from Alabama, dealing a political blow to President Donald Trump.

Jones has defeated Republican Roy Moore, a one-time GOP pariah who was embraced by the Republican Party and the president even after facing allegations of sexual impropriety.

An attorney and former prosecutor, Jones rallied voters on a message of moving past the Moore controversies. He was buoyed by an influx of national Democratic cash and endorsements.

Jones' victory is set to narrow the slim Republican majority over Democrats in the Senate to 51-49. His win in the Republican stronghold energizes the Democratic Party as it looks to build on anti-Trump sentiment to mount a challenge next year to Republican control of Congress.


8:40 p.m.

Republican Roy Moore has briefly greeted an optimistic crowd at his election night party in Montgomery, Alabama.

Moore shook hands with supporters after they chanted, "Judge Roy Moore." He then left to watch returns in another room.

His campaign manager told the crowd that Moore would soon have the new title of senator.

With about half the vote counted, the Alabama Senate race between Moore and Democrat Doug Jones is too close to call.

Moore is looking for support in rural areas and party loyalty from Republicans to carry him to victory.

Jones is attempting to become the first Alabama Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate in 25 years.


7:10 p.m.

Republican Roy Moore's supporters are expressing optimism as polls close in Alabama.

Supporters filed into Moore's election night party in Montgomery shortly before polls closed at 7 p.m.

"Watch party? It's a victory party," Moore campaign manager Rich Hobson told the crowd.

Becky Gerritson, the leader of a nearby tea party group, says sexual misconduct allegations against Moore have caused his supporters to rally around him harder.

"We're seeing his supporters digging in and they're pumped up," Gerritson said.

Reporters at Moore's election night party were kept behind a barricade in the back of the ballroom.


7 p.m.

Polls are closed in Alabama in the race to fill the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

At time of national reckoning over long-suppressed misconduct by powerful men, the choice between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones has taken on outsized significance. Moore has faced allegations of sexual misconduct with teenagers, dividing the GOP and giving Democrats hope of picking up a seat in a reliably red state.

President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee broke with top congressional leaders in standing by Moore despite the accusations, wagering that maintaining the seat in the Republican stronghold was of paramount importance.

Democrats are hoping to break their 0-5 streak in special elections for Republican-held seats in 2017, and looking for momentum heading into the 2018 midterm elections.


4:30 p.m.

Alabama Republican Roy Moore's campaign says The Washington Post is not being let into his election night gathering in Montgomery.

The Post first reported the allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore.

Moore campaign spokeswoman Hannah Ford confirmed the newspaper is not being granted press credentials. The campaign told the newspaper it had reviewed its request and was denying them.

Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones in Tuesday's election for a U.S. Senate seat.


3:45 p.m.

There are signs of heightened security at Republican Roy Moore's election night gathering in the Alabama race for U.S. Senate.

Men in SWAT uniforms videoed the exterior of the building where Moore's party is being held in Montgomery.

Campaign spokeswoman Hannah Ford said the campaign had previously received threats.

Earlier Tuesday, a Department of Homeland Security official said the agency is keeping an eye on the election.

The agency's top infrastructure and cybersecurity official said a federal protective security adviser and a cybersecurity adviser are in Montgomery and working "side by side" with state government officials in case issues arise.


2 p.m.

The Department of Homeland Security is keeping its eye on Alabama's special U.S. Senate election.

The agency's top infrastructure and cybersecurity official says a federal protective security adviser and a cybersecurity adviser are in the capital city of Montgomery and working "side by side" with state government officials in case issues arise.

Christopher Krebs says he's not aware of any specific threats. But he says DHS has been working with the state "for quite some time" to prepare for any issues.

It's part of a larger effort to better share threat information and provide technical support after DHS concluded Russian government hackers targeted election systems in 21 states last year.

Krebs says: "We learned our lessons last year."


1:55 p.m.

Voter turnout appears heavier than expected in one of Alabama's most reliably Republican counties in the U.S. Senate election, and officials say they're not just seeing the usual GOP crowd.

Shelby County Probate Judge Jim Fuhrmeister says turnout appears higher than normal among young people and black voters in Tuesday's balloting. That could help Democrat Doug Jones against Republican Roy Moore.

Democrats have a table outside one of the county's largest voting precincts in Helena, and volunteers from the Jones campaign are canvassing neighborhoods in normally Republican areas.

Fuhrmeister says he isn't predicting a Democratic win, but he expects the party to see some results for its efforts.

Shelby County, just south of Birmingham, is one of Alabama's most affluent counties.


11:50 a.m.

Republican candidate Roy Moore rode his horse to the polls as he's done in past elections to cast his ballot in the U.S. Senate race.

Moore was accompanied by his wife Kayla Moore, also on horseback, as he voted at a rural fire station in the northeast Alabama community of Gallant on Tuesday.

Dozens of members of the media surrounded the couple, making it difficult for them to get through on their horses.

Moore spoke briefly to reporters, talking in generalities and not discussing allegations that he sexually molested teenage girls decades ago.

Moore expressed confidence that he will win.

He also said that after the election will be the time to discuss whether he's allowed to take a seat in the Senate.


11:15 a.m.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he cast an absentee ballot in Tuesday's special Senate election in Alabama but declined to specify his choice, saying he "valued the sanctity of the ballot."

At a Tuesday news conference in Baltimore on gang violence and immigration, Sessions said Alabama residents are "good and decent and wonderful" people. He said he's confident they will make the right decision.

Alabama voters are deciding between Republican Roy Moore, former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, and Democrat Doug Jones, a lawyer who prosecuted two Ku Klux Klansmen who killed four black girls in a 1963 church bombing.

Multiple women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct with teen girls when he was in his 30s. Moore denies the accusations.

The winner of Tuesday's election will take the seat previously held by Sessions.


8:55 a.m.

Democratic nominee Doug Jones was met by cheering supporters as he cast his ballot in Alabama's U.S. Senate race.

Jones smiled and waved as he arrived at his voting precinct in the wealthy Birmingham suburb of Mountain Brook on Tuesday.

Poll workers at the church where he voted complained that so many news reporters were on hand that voters were having a hard time parking.

Jones says he feels good about the campaign he's run and he doesn't think Republican Roy Moore is going to win.

Jones said, "This is an important time in Alabama's history, and we feel very confident where we are and how this is going to turn out."


8:25 a.m.

Alabama's top election official estimates that turnout for the hotly contested U.S. Senate election now underway will likely be around 18 to 20 percent of registered voters.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill tells The Associated Press there's also a chance that turnout for the special election could be as high as 25 percent.

Voting places opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday and will remain open until 7 p.m.

Cool temperatures were common across Alabama when voting began and the state is expected to see dry weather all day during voting.

Republican Roy Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones in Tuesday's election.

Multiple women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct with teenage girls when he was in his 30s. Moore is now 70 and denies the charges.


7:45 a.m.

More than two dozen people stood in line in the chilly morning air at Legion Field, a predominantly black precinct in Birmingham, after polls opened at 7 a.m.

Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones have both reached out to minority voters during their contentious campaign for a U.S. Senate seat.

Political observers believe that Jones needs heavy turnout among African-American voters in order to win on Tuesday.

The Legion Field precinct is in a stadium office, where blue-tinted posters of local college football players and cheerleaders lined one of the walls. About 20 Doug Jones campaign signs were planted in the ground near the parking lot where voters were driving in to vote. There were no Roy Moore signs.


7 a.m.

Polls have opened across Alabama in the state's closely watched U.S. Senate election, which has drawn national attention.

Voting places opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday and will remain open until 7 p.m.

Cool temperatures were common across Alabama shortly before voting began and the state is expected to see dry weather all day during Tuesday's voting.

Republican Roy Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones in Tuesday's election.

Multiple women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct with teen girls when he was in his 30s. Moore is now 70 and denies the charges.


2:45 a.m.

An internationally watched Senate election is down to Alabama voters.

The controversies surrounding Republican Roy Moore give Democrat Doug Jones an opening in the GOP-dominated state. Polls open Tuesday morning.

Multiple women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct with teen girls when he was in his 30s. Moore is now 70 and denies the charges. He's telling voters they know his character already.

Jones is saying decency must prevail. He's urging Alabama voters to see the race as a crossroads with an opportunity to avoid repeating past mistakes that harm the state's image.

No Democrat has won an Alabama Senate seat since 1992. That was Sen. Richard Shelby. He's now a Republican who says he didn't vote for Moore.

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