BIRMINGHAM: Democrat Doug Jones won a bitter fight for a U.S. Senate seat in deeply conservative Alabama on Tuesday, U.S. media projected, dealing a political blow to President Donald Trump in a race marked by accusations of sexual misconduct against Republican candidate Roy Moore.
The ugly campaign drew national attention and split the Republican Party over accusations from several women that Moore pursued them when they were teens and he was in his 30s.
Trump endorsed Moore even as other party leaders in Washington walked away from him, but Jones, 63, a former federal prosecutor, portrayed the campaign as a referendum on decency and promised the state’s voters he would not embarrass them in Washington.
Moore, 70, a Christian conservative who was removed from the state Supreme Court in Alabama twice for ignoring federal law, denied the sexual allegations and said he did not know any of the women who made them. Reuters has not independently verified the allegations.
Trump had recorded robo-calls to voters to bolster turnout for Moore, and held a campaign rally across the border in Florida last week. Trump’s former senior adviser, Steve Bannon, appeared at two rallies with Moore down the stretch.
Network exit polls, however, showed Trump was not a factor in the decision for about half of Alabama voters. A further 29 percent said they voted to express support for Trump, and 20 percent said they voted to oppose him.
In Gadsden, Alabama, Louis Loveman, 73, a retired librarian and self-described lifelong Republican, said he voted for Jones. “It’s simple,” he said. “I don’t trust Roy Moore.”
“There are too many allegations floating out there for there not to be fire behind all that smoke. I never voted for a Democrat before, but I did today,” Loveman said. —Reuters