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Alabama Result Is a Massive Setback for Trump

Doug Jones defeats Roy Moore in historic victory for a Democrat in Senate race
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2017 5:03 AM CST
Updated Dec 13, 2017 6:33 AM CST

(Newser) – Roy Moore has refused to concede—but with all precincts reporting in Alabama, Democratic candidate Doug Jones appears to have won a historic victory in the state, which hadn't elected a Democratic senator since 1992. Moore's defeat, which came after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct, is seen as a massive setback for both President Trump and Steve Bannon, and a major boost for Democrats ahead of next year's midterm elections. A roundup of coverage:

  • A "stinging defeat." The AP describes the loss as a "stinging defeat" for Trump, whose decision to support Moore despite the misconduct accusations backfired "spectacularly." Trump, who won Alabama by 28 points last year, backed Moore's rival, Luther Strange, in the GOP primary, giving him the "dubious distinction" of picking wrong twice in the state.

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  • Worrying signs for the GOP. Moore was rejected by voters in the state's cities and affluent suburbs, which the New York Times sees as a trend that should worry Republicans, especially after a similar result in Virginia last month. African-American voters turned out heavily across the state, a sign that "the party's most loyal voters are fired up" ahead of next year's midterms. Exit polls showed that African-Americans, who make up around 25% of the state's population, accounted for around 30% of voters Tuesday, and more than 90% of them voted for Jones.
  • The write-in factor. Jones won by a margin of around 1.5%, while around 1.7%, or 22,000 people, wrote in a name other than Moore or Jones on the ballot. Most of them are believed to have been Republicans who couldn't stomach voting for Moore, including Republican Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby.
  • Bannon. The loss is a major blow to the former White House strategist, who supported Moore in the primary despite the opposition of the Republican establishment. "Not only did Steve Bannon cost us a critical Senate seat in one of the most Republican states in the country, but he also dragged the president of the United States into his fiasco," said Steven Law, the head of the McConnell-linked Senate Leadership Fund super PAC.

  • A "big black eye." Politico describes the loss as the biggest setback of Trump's presidency—and a senior White House source calls it a "big black eye" for the president, who closely followed the results Tuesday. With the GOP majority reduced to 51-49, it will be much harder for Trump to get legislation through the Senate, and analysts say Democrats now have a much better chance of recapturing the chamber next year.
  • "Decency wins." Trump congratulated Jones on a "hard-fought campaign," while Hillary Clinton tweeted that Alabama elected a senator who'll "make them proud." Senators congratulating Jones included many Democrats, along with Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, who tweeted: "Decency wins."
  • The gender gap. In its list of winners and losers from the race, the Washington Post notes that there was a huge gender gap in the Alabama results, with men going for Moore by 13 points and women going for Jones by an overwhelming 17%.
(Read more Roy Moore stories.)

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