Democrat Doug Jones defeated the Republican accused child molester Roy Moore Tuesday night, winning the Alabama Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and becoming the first Democrat elected to represent Alabama in the Senate since 1992.
The race was nail-bitingly close: Jones beat Moore by just 1.2 percentage points. But it wasn’t expected to be competitive at all, until the Washington Post published a bombshell report in November, detailing a woman’s accusation that a 30-something Moore had initiated a sexual encounter with her in the late 1970s, when she was just 14 years old. (That’s under the age of consent in Alabama, both then and now.)
Initial polling showed Jones surging past Moore, but the polls muddied over the following weeks, as Moore dug in, angrily denying the allegations and campaigning against the media. Swathes of Alabama voters also seemed unswayed by the allegations against Moore, telling VICE News that they planned to vote for him anyway. As one woman said earlier this week, “The allegations are unproven and they are very old.”
But enough people, it turns out, either believed the allegations or were energized enough to head to the voting booth.
Jones now heads to Capitol Hill, where he may derail Republican efforts to pass a tax bill.
According to the Alabama Secretary of State, Jones won’t be seated until at least Dec. 27, and perhaps not until early January. That gives Senate Republicans only two to three weeks to pass the tax bill until they lose a Republican vote and are left with only a 51-vote majority. (Though versions of the bill already passed both the House and the Senate, Congress must now reconcile each chamber’s versions into one bill to send to President Trump’s desk.)
With Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee already a “no,” thanks to his concerns about the national debt, the Senate would have zero room for error after Mr. Jones becomes Sen. Jones.