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Alabama Elects First Democrat Senator in 25 Years

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On election day, December 12, 2017, Alabamans voted in the state’s first Democrat senator since 1992. In what is being heralded as a stunning victory, Gordon Douglas (Doug) Jones managed to keep Roy Moore from joining Congress. Jones won by 20,936 votes — 673,236 to 652,300, according to NBC News.

Jones will take the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he joined President Trump’s administration. As this is a special election, the senator-elect will have to run again in 2020 to retain his seat.

It was a harrowing competition between the two. The polls were up and down, and it appeared that Alabama was going to have yet another Republican senator. In fact, even after the Alabama Secretary of State announced Jones was the winner, Moore refused to concede, and his campaign called for a recount. The GOP acknowledged Jones as the winner stating they respect the election process.

The Roy Moore Controversy

Days before the election Trump endorsed Moore’s candidacy which encouraged the GOP to throw their support the candidate’s way. The president’s tweet congratulating Jones was bittersweet. Even though he gave the winner a thumbs up, he wrote that there would be a Republican replacing him soon.

Typically a Republican state, the diehard constituents fought hard to elect their candidate even after allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior against teenaged girls arose against Moore. Surprisingly, the exit polls indicated that Republican women still cast their ballots in his favor.

By November 17, eight women came forward lodging complaints. Additionally, information about the YMCA and a local mall became part of the discussion as they banned him due to his hounding girls, 15-17 years old, for dates. He was in his thirties and forties.

Naturally, Moore wholeheartedly contends these women were lying. He, like so many others similarly accused, denied the events ever took place. He took to the pulpit to proclaim his innocence. During his ranting, Moore accused radical liberals, gays, and blacks of encouraging these women to come forward. He claimed it was a conspiracy against him. He used the standard GOP complaint about false allegations and fake liberal news outlets.

Moore reportedly said that the last time America was great was during slavery, he also stated that all Constitutional amendments beyond the 10th should be removed. He is not alone in this line of thinking. If asked, many residents of Alabama say the Confederacy never died.

Perhaps this is the reason a man like Moore is bold enough to publically denounce the advancements in civil liberties, let alone blatantly discount the rights of over half the population. Women make up approximately 51 percent of Americans, not counting gays of men of color.

Introducing the New Alabama Senator-Elect

The 63-year-old Democrat was born in Alabama. While growing up in the 1960s, he went to a desegregated high school. Jones attributes the violence of the time to his devotion to becoming a lawyer who battled to secure civil liberties.

Being a liberal, he believes in climate change and disagrees with Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Climate Accord. As Jones writes, “Clean air and clean water are not controversial they are essential to our health, our prosperity, and our quality of life.”

He served as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama from 1997-2001. His appointment by former President Bill Clinton was approved by a Senate dominated by Republicans.

Jones is remembered for his prosecution and conviction of two Ku Klux Klan members responsible for killing four African-American girls during the 1963 Birmingham church bombing.

December 12 will hold two distinct memories for Jones; winning the Alabama Senatorial race and celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary with his wife, Louise.

Opinion by Cathy Milne

Sources:

NBC News: Live blog: Roy Moore, Doug Jones face off in Alabama Senate race
Huffington Post: 5 Key Things To Know About Doug Jones, The Democrat Who Beat Roy Moore
The Washington Post: Timeline: The accusations against Roy Moore

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Open minded in Alabama’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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