Back in November after Democrats won a sweeping victory in Virginia and in races across the country, I said that the Democratic Party should go all-in in backing Doug Jones in the Alabama special election for U.S. Senate.
They did, and last night Doug Jones broke through in the GOP’s solid South to become the first Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate from Alabama in a generation.
Roy Moore was not the only loser on Tuesday. Donald Trump is a two-time loser in Alabama, having backed Luther Strange in the GOP primary and going all-in for the accused serial child sexual predator Roy Moore. Robert and Rebekah Mercer’s white nationalist attack dog, Stephen Bannon from Breitbart, suffered another defeat in his war against the GOP establishment. And FAUX News (aka Trump TV), which went all in for the accused serial child sexual predator Roy Moore.
Voter turnout was higher than anticipated (but still, 35%?) especially among African-American Democratic voters. Roy Moore underperformed in most counties from his previous election to the state supreme court, indicating a depressed Republican voter turnout — 2% of Alabama Republicans cast a write-in vote, unable to bring themselves to vote for Moore.
Doug Jones managed to gain 30 percent of the white vote, double the 15% Barack Obama received in 2012. See, Preliminary exit poll results: How different groups voted in Alabama.
Doug Jones gained cross-over votes from college educated urban voters and women who were turned off by the child sexual predator allegations against Roy Moore. Still, Roy Moore won these demographic groups.
Moore held a small edge among white women with college degrees and a roughly 25-point lead among white men with college degrees. Moore led by almost 50 points among white women without degrees and by 60 points among white men without college degrees.
Independent voters broke for Doug Jones, which added to his Democratic base vote.
Young voters ages 18 to 44 supported Doug Jones by a roughly 20-point margin over Moore. Older voters 45 and older, especially seniors, favored Roy Moore over Jones by about 20 points.
The urban vs. rural voter divide was also present in Alabama.
Donald Trump won Alabama with 62 percent of the vote in 2016, but his support has declined to an even 48-48 split on job performance, and remains polarized by party identification.
While Doug Jones has been declared the winner, Roy Moore has not conceded and is threatening a recount. Roy Moore refuses to concede Senate race, puts hopes on recount.
Secretary of State John Merrill said it’s too soon to know whether the margin of victory by Doug Jones in Alabama’s special election on Tuesday will trigger the state’s automatic recount law.
State law calls for an automatic recount in a general election if a candidate wins by not more than 0.5 percent, unless the defeated candidate submits a waiver.
Overseas ballots, provisional ballots and possibly write-in ballots will have to be counted before a final margin is determined in Jones’ narrow win over Roy Moore.
The Associated Press reported that with all 2,220 precincts reporting, Jones received 671,151 votes, 50 percent, to Moore’s 650,436, 48.4 percent.
There were 22,819 write-in votes cast.
Merrill declined to speculate when asked if he thought there were enough overseas ballots and provisional ballots to possibly affect the outcome.
Overseas ballots can continue to come in until noon on Dec. 19.
County boards of registrars will determine which provisional ballots will count.
As for write-in ballots, the secretary of state’s office will notify counties on Dec. 18 whether they have to be counted. A state law says that if the margin of victory in a race exceeds the number of write-in votes, they are not counted.
County canvassing boards will count provisional ballots, overseas ballots and write-in ballots, if necessary, on Dec. 19. Counties must report results to the secretary of state’s office by Dec. 22.
Merrill said the final results will be certified by the state canvassing board no earlier than Dec. 26 and no later than Jan. 3.
A recount could only come after certification, Merrill said. The recount would begin within 72 hours after certification.
If Jones’ margin of victory remains greater than 0.5 percent after all the votes are counted, Moore could still demand a recount. He would have to so so within 48 hours of the vote certification and would have to post a bond to cover the cost of conducting the recount. If the recount changed the outcome, the state would bear the cost.
In any event, the Septuagenarian Ninja Turtle, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, says that Alabama’s new senator will not be seated until the next session begins in January. Mitch McConnell: Alabama’s new senator won’t be seated this year:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that no matter who wins Tuesday’s Senate election in Alabama, Republican Luther Strange will remain in the seat until the end of the session this year.
“Sen. Strange is going to be here through the end of this session,” McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters.