LGBT groups are cheering the results of
a special Senate election in Alabama in which voters elected their
first Democratic senator in 25 years.
The Associated Press called the race
for Doug Jones two-and-a-half hours after polls closed in the state.
With 91 percent of precincts reporting, Jones, a former U.S.
attorney, received 49.5 percent of the vote, while Republican Roy
Moore received 48.9 percent.
POLITICO called the defeat of Moore, an
evangelical Christian, an “Alabama earthquake” and a “huge
blow” for President Donald Trump and his former strategist Steve
Bannon, both of whom supported Moore. (While Trump backed outgoing
Senator Luther Strange in the primary, he threw his support behind
Moore in recent weeks.)
“I am truly overwhelmed,” Jones
told supporters. “At the end of the day, this entire race has been
about dignity and respect. This campaign has been about the rule of
law. This campaign has been about common courtesy and decency.”
“Congratulations to Doug Jones on a
hard fought victory,” Trump tweeted. “The write-in votes played
a very big factor, but a win is a win. The people of Alabama are
great, and the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a
very short period of time. It never ends!”
Moore's huge lead shrank after several
women accused the former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice of
sexual assault and other misconduct when he was in his 30s.
Last month, Moore blamed the LGBT
community for those allegations, saying that he's the victim of a
“conspiracy” to derail his political career, which he blamed on
“liberals, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders and socialists.”
During his campaign, Moore called on
to impeach the federal judge who blocked President Donald Trump's ban
on transgender troops and to
boot from the bench the Supreme Court justices who found in
that gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry.
He also recently said that “transgenders
don't have rights.”
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, cheered Jones' win in an email
to supporters. “The people of Alabama elected Doug Jones, an ally
with a track-record of fighting hate head-on,” wrote Ben Needham,
director of HRC's Project One America.
Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All
Americans, added: “LGBT people around the country will be happily
celebrating the results of today's election in Alabama, where Roy
Moore, one of the most fervently anti-LGBT forces in the country, has
been defeated. Moore demonstrated overwhelming contempt for LGBT
people and an inability to treat us with basic respect and dignity.
Tonight's election results prove that discrimination doesn't win
political races. It's heartwarming to know that Alabamans will have a
friend in the Senate who stands on the right side of history."
Moore was twice removed as chief
justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for defying federal court orders
that conflicted with his religious beliefs, including defying the
Supreme Court on marriage equality after it struck down state
marriage bans nationwide.
Jones will hold former Senator Jeff
Sessions' seat until 2020, when Sessions' old term expires.