Doug Jones elected to U.S. Senate seat

Doug Jones
Doug Jones
Posted at 10:45 PM, Dec 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-12 22:53:59-05

(WBRC) - Democrat Doug Jones has been declared winner of Alabama's open U.S. Senate seat after a contentious race against Republican Roy Moore.

Jones is the first Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate by Alabamians in a quarter century.

Currently, with just over 90% of votes counted, Jones holds a 6,000+ vote lead with more than 1.1 million votes counted so far. The Associated Press, FOX News, and CNN have all called the race.

This special election was held to fill the vacancy in the U.S. Senate that came after the resignation of Jeff Sessions so he could serve as the United States Attorney General.

Former Gov. Robert Bentley named Luther Strange, then Attorney General of Alabama, to fill the vacancy until a special election could be held. Bentley said the special election would be held in November 2018 during the state's general election.

After Bentley resigned from office, Gov. Kay Ivey called a special election for December 12.

In the primary held on August 15, Doug Jones won the Democratic primary. Republicans Roy Moore and Luther Strange went to a runoff, held on September 26. Moore defeated Strange in the primary runoff.

Back in early November, a report published by the Washington Post surfaced claiming a 32-year-old Moore had a sexual encounter with a then 14-year-old girl back in the 1970s.

Additional reports came out in the following weeks. This caused many Republicans nationally to condemn Moore's alleged actions.

In early December, President Donald Trump officially offered his suppport for Moore.

According to Jones' bio, he was "born into a blue-collar family in Fairfield, Alabama – to a father who worked for U.S. Steel and a stay-at-home mom, one grandfather who was a steelworker and the other a coal miner."

Jones attended Fairfield High School and was an SGA leader. He says he worked with his classmates to maintain calm and build unity during what were difficult times during the era of the desegregation of Alabama's public schools.

Jones says he was drawn to studying government at Alabama and later at Cumberland Law School. He found a love for politics and organizing.

While studying law, he says he cut a few classes to watch Bill Baxley - Alabama's Attorney General at the time - prosecute the first 16th Street Baptist Church bombing trial in 1977.

After law school, Jones served as staff counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee for Senator Howell Heflin.

In 1980, Jones became Assistant U.S. Attorney in Birmingham. He privately practiced law 1984 to 1997.

In 1997, he served as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. Shortly after taking office, the case against three additional men accused of bombing the 16th Street Baptist Church was being reopened. Jones and a team of prosecutors, investigators, and other staff convicted two former Klansmen for the murder of four children.

Jones left office in 2001 and returned to private practice.

Moore and his wife Louise celebrate their 25th anniversary on December 12. They have three children and two grandchildren.

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