Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore (R) refused to concede the special election Tuesday night after multiple media outlets called the race in favor of his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones.
“At this point, we do not have a final decision on the outcome tonight,” Moore’s campaign chairman, Bill Armistead, told supporters.
“When the vote is this close, it is not over,” Moore said.
Alabama state law requires an automatic recount when election results are within 0.5 percentage points.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Jones holds 49.9 percent of the vote, compared to Moore’s 48.4 percent, a 1.5-point gap, according to The New York Times.
Shortly after Moore’s speech, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) was asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper if he expected “anything other than Mr. Jones being the next senator from the state of Alabama.”
“I would find that highly unlikely to occur, Jake,” Merrill replied.
Moore’s speech followed an exuberant speech from Jones to his supporters in Birmingham, where he said his campaign was about “finding common ground” and that Alabamians led by example in showing the rest of the country how to be united.
“I have said throughout this campaign that I thought Dec. 12 was going to be a historic day,” Jones said.
Jones also noted Tuesday’s election fell on the same day as his 25th wedding anniversary, calling out to his wife as supporters cheered.
Jones’s stunning victory, which makes him the first Alabama Democrat elected to the Senate since 1992, follows a turbulent campaign to fill the seat formerly held by Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMcCabe, Rosenstein spar over Russia probe Rosenstein takes fire from Republicans in heated testimony Rosenstein defends Mueller appointment, role on surveillance warrants MORE.
Moore was accused of sexual misconduct last month by multiple women, including one woman who said Moore initiated a sexual encounter with her when she was 14 years old and he was 32.
Moore denied the allegations, but he lost endorsements from several sitting Republican senators and saw the Senate GOP’s campaign arm drop its support for him.
President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE offered full-throated support for Moore, holding a rally near Alabama’s border to fire up supporters, recording a robocall in support of Moore and using his Twitter account to attack Jones as a “Schumer/Pelosi puppet.”
But Jones’s victory deals a blow to Trump and Senate Republicans, whose advantage in the upper chamber shrinks to a 51-49 margin.
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