US: Alabama Democrat Doug Jones defeats Roy Moore in election upset

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Doug Jones has become the first Alabama Democrat elected to the US Senate in 25 years, after defeating controversial Republican candidate Roy Moore.

Jones won with 49.9% of the vote, to Mr Moore’s 48.4%, after all votes from precincts around the state have been counted. Moore has not yet conceded defeat and told supporter’s “it’s not over”, but the margin of defeat is far greater than the 0.5% required for a recount.

The electoral upset is a blow for US President Donald Trump, who publicly backed Moore for the Senate seat despite multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, including with a 14-year-old girl. The result could also cause problems for the Republicans in the Senate, where their majority will be narrowed to 51-49.

Moore is a firebrand conservative that gained notoriety for refusing to remove a 2.4 tonne stone monument of the Ten Commandments in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery, Alabama. He was removed from office for judicial misconduct for failing to comply with the order of the federal court, but his actions gained him widespread support from the US evangelical Christian community.

In contrast to Moore’s firebrand right-wing Christian conservatism, Jones made his name as a lawyer that helped convict two Ku Klux Klan members for killing four girls in the bombing a black church in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. Jones’ victory has in part been put down to higher than expected turnout amongst Alabama’s black population.

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