Alabama special election marks end of 30-year Republican control

The special Alabama Senate election of November 2017 marked the end of 30 years of Republican control over the state. The democratic candidate, Doug Jones, beat Republican candidate Roy Moore in a 50% – 48.3% race. The purpose of this election was to fill the Alabama Senate seat that had been vacant following former senator Jeff Sessions’ appointment to U.S. Attorney General.

For much of the race, Moore held a substantial advantage over Jones, and was the projected winner of the seat. However, Moore experienced heavy drops in the polls after allegations surfaced of sexual misconduct of the former Alabama Supreme Court Justice, with one of the victims claiming to be fourteen at the time of the incident. These accusations ranged from lewd, inappropriate comments to sexual assault. Moore received backlash from both his base supporters and from prominent members of the Republican party, including former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Ohio governor John Kasich.

Despite the large fallout that Moore encountered with the Republican Party, there were still those who stood by his side and continued to campaign with him, most notably former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. Bannon spoke at many of Moore’s rallies and angled his argument to draw similarities between Moore and President Trump in an attempt to mobilize the President’s large following in the state. Despite such measures, Jones was still victor on election night.

Following his victory, Jones held a speech thanking his staff and family as well as appealing for a bipartisanship in Alabama, following the polarized election. “I have always believed that the people of Alabama have more in common than to divide us,” said Jones, “We have shown not just around the state of Alabama but we have shown the country the way that we can be unified.”

That same night, Roy Moore held a rally to tell his supporters that he was not going to concede the race until a special appeal had been filed and looked into to confirm the validity of Jones’s win.

“I really want to thank you for coming tonight and realize when the vote is this close that it’s not over,“ Moore told those attending the event, “we still got to go by the rules about this recount provision and the secretary of state has explained it to us and we’re expecting that the press will go up there and talk to them to find out what the situation is”.

Those words were welcomed by attendees who still hold out hope that Moore may win due to some error in the vote counting. Yet, despite this appeals process, it does appear that Democrat Doug Jones will be the next Senator of Alabama.