2017 Campaign

More Surprising Than Doug Jones Winning In Alabama

Alan Abramowitz: “When Alabama voters were asked which party they would prefer to control the Senate, 50% chose Republicans while 45% chose Democrats. That is a stunning result — perhaps even more stunning than Jones’s victory. Moreover, only 43% had a favorable opinion of the Republican Party while 47% had a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party.”

Roy Moore Was a Truly Awful Candidate

Weekly Standard: “Roy Moore wasn’t a generic Republican candidate. If you’ve ready anything about this race, you know that the Washington Post and other news outlets have published credible claims that Moore had improper sexual contact with teenage girls while he was in his 30s. And even before that, Moore was controversial. He was elected as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court twice, but he was removed from that position in 2003 and suspended from it a few years after winning the seat back in 2012. He won his 2012 election to that position by four points while Romney won the state by 22 points.”

“In other words, Moore was a terrible candidate. And that mattered.”

“No matter how you look at the race, it’s hard to escape the fact that Moore was a truly bad candidate, and that Republicans likely would have performed significantly better if they had nominated a more conventional Republican.”

A Perfect Storm For Democrats

“Everything had to break exactly right for Doug Jones to win the Senate election in deep-red Alabama, and it did. Jones ran a disciplined campaign that hinged on black turnout, and it delivered for him,” The Atlantic reports.

“But everything also had to break the wrong way for the Republicans, and it did: a series of machinations among senior GOP officials led to a runoff between the unpopular Luther Strange and Roy Moore, best known for losing his judgeship over a dramatic battle to keep a 10 Commandments monument in the state supreme court. Moore had a loyal base of support in Alabama despite—or because of—the litany of controversies attached to him, including his inflammatory remarks about homosexuality and Muslims serving in office. But he was unable to reach beyond that base, and barely tried. And in the end he could not survive allegations by nine women that Moore had pursued or sexually abused them when they were teenagers—one as young as 14.”

Jones’s Win Scrambles GOP Congressional Agenda

“Doug Jones’s odds-defying victory in Alabama — handing Democrats a vanishingly rare Senate win in the Deep South — scrambles President Trump’s legislative agenda for the coming year, threatens to heighten Republican infighting and sounds an alarm for the GOP’s prospects in November’s midterm elections,” the Washington Post reports.

“Any dent in the two-seat advantage Republicans hold in the Senate would carry major governing consequences, but the loss of what had been considered one of the party’s safest seats carries a special sting for the GOP.”

“One consequence is Democrats’ much more plausible path to the Senate majority next year. The 2018 map was widely seen to favor Republicans, with 10 Democrats seeking reelection in states President Trump won last year and only two Republican seats clearly at risk.”

A Humiliating Defeat for Trump

“Doug Jones didn’t just defeat Roy Moore in Alabama’s Senate race on Tuesday night — he administered the most crushing and embarrassing political blow of President Trump’s young presidency,” Politico reports.

Dan Balz: “Trump suffered mightily after fully embracing Moore in the final weeks of the campaign, despite credible allegations that Moore had engaged in sexually improper behavior with teenage girls when he was in his 30s.”

“It was the second such setback for the president in a state he won by 28 points just a year ago. In the GOP primary earlier this year, he had endorsed, with limited enthusiasm, Sen. Luther Strange, who had taken the seat of Jeff Sessions when Trump made Sessions his attorney general. For Trump, nothing good has come from that appointment — from a special counsel investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election to a pair of losses in the Alabama races.”

What Black Voter Problem?

Politico: “All the chatter across Alabama for the final week of the race focused on Democrats’ alleged problems turning out black voters. But after a blockbuster turnout operation designed by Jones’ campaign and national Democrats, African-American voters turned out in massive numbers for the former U.S. attorney.”

“His sweeping victories across the state’s so-called ‘Black Belt’ rivaled only his massive victories in the state’s largely African-American cities, like Birmingham and Montgomery… The result swept aside weeks of hand-wringing here and pointed to an optimistic future for a party that wasn’t sure it would be able to bring black voters to the polls in sufficient numbers without Barack Obama atop the ticket.”

National Journal: “African-Americans made up 29 percent of the electorate in the Alabama Senate election — significantly more than both campaigns expected — and they gave Jones 96 percent of their votes.”

A Suburban Shellacking

New York Times: “Voters in Alabama’s cities and most affluent suburbs overwhelmingly rejected Mr. Moore’s candidacy, an ominous sign for Republicans on the ballot next year in upscale districts. In Jefferson County, which includes Birmingham and some of the state’s wealthiest enclaves, Mr. Jones, the Democratic candidate, captured more than 68% of the vote. And in Madison County, home to Huntsville and a large NASA facility, Mr. Jones won 57 percent of the vote.”

“While these Alabamians, many of them women, may have been appalled by the claims of sexual misconduct against Mr. Moore, results like these were not isolated to this race. They mirrored returns in last month’s statewide and legislative races in Virginia, a state filled with well-heeled suburbanites.”

Roy Moore Refuses to Concede

Washington Post: “Speaking to supporters at about 11:34 p.m. Eastern time, Moore said he thought the race might go to a recount, which state law requires when a race is within 0.5 percentage points.”

Said Moore: “When the vote is this close . . . it’s not over.”

“Jones’ lead, at that point, however, still exceeded 0.5 percent“

Trump Congratulates Doug Jones

President Trump congratulated Doug Jones (D) in a tweet for his Senate victory in Alabama:

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!

Doug Jones Wins In Alabama

Doug Jones (D) has defeated Roy Moore (R) in Alabama’s special election U.S. Senate race.

The defeat is a massive blow to President Trump and costs Republicans what should have been a safe seat in a deep-red state.

Most interesting: It looks like Jones may have won by less than the write-in vote margin.

The Senate Leadership Fund issued this statement:

This is a brutal reminder that candidate quality matters regardless of where you are running. Not only did Steve Bannon cost us a critical Senate seat in one of the most Republican states in the country, but he also dragged the President of the United States into his fiasco.