By Clare Driscoll ’19
A special election for the United States Senate in Alabama was held on December 12, 2017, to choose former Senator Jeff Sessions’ successor for the term through January 3, 2021
With Alabama being a historically red state, it came as a shock to many that Democrat Doug Jones beat Republican Roy Moore. Though it was a very close call, Jones carried several voter groups by significant margins: women by 16 points, under 30 voters by 22 points and independents by 8 points. This election also saw record high African-American voters who almost unanimously voted for Jones, with 92 percent.
“I am truly overwhelmed. We have shown, not just around the state of Alabama, but we have shown the country the way that we can be unified…This entire race has been about dignity and respect. This campaign — this campaign has been about the rule of law,” Jones said after his win.
Another key factor to the outcome of this election was the sexual assault allegations against Moore that were brought to light in November. Five women accused Moore of sexual abuse while they were minors.
These allegations split the Republican party and while some right-wing politicians like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell believed these claims made him “not [eligible] to meet the ethical and moral requirements of the United States Senate”, other Republicans such as President Donald Trump realized Moore’s loss would mean the Senate diminish the Republicans’ majority to 51-49.
With Alabam’s long and expensive race over, both Democrats and Republicans will be looking to retain incumbent seats and flip possible districts in the 2018 midterm elections.