Defeat leaves Republicans with razor thin 51-49 majority in Senate
Democratic candidate Doug Jones claimed victory over his Republican opponent in Alabama on Tuesday night for a highly-coveted Senate seat in a stunning rebuke of President Donald Trump.
Jones eked out a narrow victory over judge Roy Moore whom Trump endorsed in the run up to the election in a last-ditch effort to protect the narrow Republican hold in the Senate, despite a myriad of sexual abuse allegations against Moore, including some that alleged impropriety with minors.
With the defeat, Republicans hold a razor thin 51-49 majority in the Senate, and are now saddled with an even tougher prospect in implementing Trump's legislative agenda.
"I am truly, truly overwhelmed," Jones declared at a campaign rally in the staunchly conservative Republican state. "I have always believed that the people of Alabama have more in common than divides us. We have shown, not just around the state of Alabama, but we have shown the country the way we can be unified."
Jones claimed the first Republican defeat in a Senate race in Alabama in nearly 25 years in a major defeat for Trump and some Republican officials who stood by Moore in the hopes of ensuring a greater share of Senate seats.
Jones, the former U.S. attorney who famously prosecuted Ku Klux Klan members for their part in a deadly firebombing of a black church in 1963 that killed four young girls said, "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, and making sure everyone in this state, regardless of which zip code you live in, is going to get a fair shake in life".
Republicans are now faced with a major dilemma after Trump chose to endorse Moore despite the allegations he is facing and the judge's controversial opinions on gays, Muslims and slavery. Trump had already been mired in historically low opinion poll approval ratings.
"Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard fought victory. 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!" Trump wrote on Twitter.
Trump previously endorsed the Republican candidate for Virginia's governorship in a bid that was ultimately futile, and seen as a referendum on the American president.
The stakes are further heightened for the 2018 Senate races where a third of seats will be up for contention, and where Democrats could tip the chamber's scales.
Moore's spoke to supporters late Tuesday and quotes Bible verses but did not concede defeat, instead he called for a recount of the vote.
"When the vote is this close it is not over," Moore said/ "We've been painted in an unfavorable and unfaithful light. We've been put in a hole, if you will."