By Frederick H. Lowe
Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore Tuesday night in a surprising upset in Alabama’s U.S. Senate race. In his victory speech, Jones thanked Black voters for turning out.
Jones won 49.9 percent of the vote to Moore’s 48.4 percent. Moore, however, did not concede the election.
Jones is the first Democrat in 25 years to win a senate seat in Alabama a deeply Red State that handed Trump a large margin of victory in the 2016 presidential election over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Jones and Moore were running to fill the seat left open by former U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions who joined the Trump administration nine months ago as U.S. Attorney General. Sessions’ former seat was considered safe for Republicans. But during the campaign Moore was dogged by allegations that he stalked and dated teenage girls while he was in his 30s.
Black elected officials played a big role in Jones’ victory.
Former President Barack Obama and other prominent African-Americans including U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) campaigned for Jones to spark a high black voter turnout.
Jones’ election means that the U.S. Senate is divided 51 to 49 in favor of Republicans.