Democrat Doug Jones elected to AL U.S. Senate seat

Democrat Doug Jones elected to AL U.S. Senate seat

(WBRC) - Democrat Doug Jones has been declared winner of Alabama's open U.S. Senate seat after a contentious race against Republican Roy Moore.

Jones is the first Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate by Alabamians in a quarter century.

With 100% of the votes counted (not including provisional ballots) the vote totals are as follows:

Doug Jones - 671,151 - 49.9%
Roy Moore - 650,436 - 48.4%
Write-Ins - 22,819 - 1.7%

That puts election turnout at more than 1.35 million people, around 35% of voters in the state.

In his speech after the election was called for him, Doug Jones thanked citizens of the state and said the people have spoken. "We have come so far and the people of Alabama have spoken. It has never been about me, it's never been about Roy Moore, it's about you," Jones said. You can watch his speech at the top of this story.

At a speech in Montgomery, the Roy Moore campaign says they will not concede the election until all provisional ballots and write-in votes are counted. They also question if a recount is possible.

Late Tuesday evening, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill spoke about how and if a recount could occur. If a recount is requested by the Moore campaign, Merrill says their campaign would have to incur that cost.

After all votes are certified, Merrill says that's when we'll know if an automatic recount could be triggered. The numbers are set to be certified between December 26 and January 3.

State law says if the margin of victory is less than one-half of one percentage point, an automatic recount is necessary.

If the Secretary of State says there were more write-in votes than the difference of votes between Moore and Jones, then each county would have to tally those write-in votes.

President Donald Trump weighed in on Twitter after the results were announced Tuesday evening. He congratulated Jones on a "hard fought victory," adding that the write-in votes played a factor.

This special election was held to fill the vacancy in the U.S. Senate that came after the resignation of Jeff Sessions so he could serve as the United States Attorney General.

Former Gov. Robert Bentley named Luther Strange, then Attorney General of Alabama, to fill the vacancy until a special election could be held. Bentley said the special election would be held in November 2018 during the state's general election.

After Bentley resigned from office, Gov. Kay Ivey called a special election for December 12.

In the primary held on August 15, Doug Jones won the Democratic primary. Republicans Roy Moore and Luther Strange went to a runoff, held on September 26. Moore defeated Strange in the primary runoff.

Back in early November, a report published by the Washington Post surfaced claiming a 32-year-old Moore had a sexual encounter with a then 14-year-old girl back in the 1970s.

Additional reports came out in the following weeks. This caused many Republicans nationally to condemn Moore's alleged actions.

In early December, President Donald Trump officially offered his suppport for Moore.

According to Jones' bio, he was "born into a blue-collar family in Fairfield, Alabama – to a father who worked for U.S. Steel and a stay-at-home mom, one grandfather who was a steelworker and the other a coal miner."

Jones attended Fairfield High School and was an SGA leader. He says he worked with his classmates to maintain calm and build unity during what were difficult times during the era of the desegregation of Alabama's public schools.

Jones says he was drawn to studying government at Alabama and later at Cumberland Law School. He found a love for politics and organizing.

While studying law, he says he cut a few classes to watch Bill Baxley - Alabama's Attorney General at the time - prosecute the first 16th Street Baptist Church bombing trial in 1977.

After law school, Jones served as staff counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee for Senator Howell Heflin.

In 1980, Jones became Assistant U.S. Attorney in Birmingham. He privately practiced law 1984 to 1997.

In 1997, he served as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. Shortly after taking office, the case against three additional men accused of bombing the 16th Street Baptist Church was being reopened. Jones and a team of prosecutors, investigators, and other staff convicted two former Klansmen for the murder of four children.

Jones left office in 2001 and returned to private practice.

Jones and his wife Louise celebrated their 25th anniversary on the date of the special election, December 12. They have three children and two grandchildren.

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