By: Jeffrey Albertson/30 Dec. 2017–Atlanta, GA–
Carrying the moniker as the first Republican to lose a Senate election in Alabama since 1992—an attorney for former Chief Justice Roy Moore’s campaign filed a complaint in the Jefferson County Circuit Court late Wednesday night to obtain relief in the form of a “Temporary Restraining Order, a Preliminary Injunction, and setting a new special election.” The suit alleges “systematic election fraud” given that “the reported results were contrary to most of the impartial, independent polls conducted prior to the special election and in contrast to election polls.” The suit indicates the Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill—a Republican—failed to adequately investigate reports of election fraud. In a specific case, the Moore Campaign alleges Merrill failed to investigate the “fellowship” behind a canvasser for Democrat Doug Jones, who ultimately turned out to be a registered Alabama voter. Sec. Merrill said his office received more than 100 reports of voter fraud and had adjudicated more than 60. “One complaint claimed to be about a town that doesn’t exist, a report he dubbed “a flat-out lie,” and later Thursday, he listed off a series of complaints his office had received that they determined to be unfounded.”
The complaint states Moore took a polygraph test and the results showed “that [he] did not know, nor had ever had any sexual contact with any of these individuals.” The affidavit from Moore names those individuals as: Leigh Corfman, Beverly Nelson, and Tina Johnson. The campaign also referenced studies by four election analysts. One of which, Phillip Evans called Jones’ victory a “statistical impossibility,” citing a large drop in Republican Party votes in Jefferson County. Another analyst, James Condit, Jr claims the integrity of Alabama voting machines were questionable. In a statement from Thursday, Moore claimed that “Election fraud experts across the country have agreed that this was a fraudulent election,” but the legitimacy of the analysts be cited has been questioned. Especially, Condit who writes about the “Zionist” control of global politics and the Catholic Church and Richard Charnin, who claims to have mathematically proven a conspiracy behind the assassination of former President John Kennedy. Charnin also called the notion that the World Trade Towers were brought down by hijackers on September 11, 2001 a conspiracy and instead, cast responsibility on the state of Israel.
Former Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, who resigned amid misconduct in office, appointed then Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange to fill the vacancy. Strange lost to Moore in Republican special run off on September 26, 2017. In what was labeled as a “referendum” on the Trump presidency by former Trump Administration advisor Stephen Bannon, the “anti-establishment” Moore was pitted against the “establishment” favored Strange. Initially, President Donald Trump supported Strange, but towards the conclusion of the election offered a full-throated endorsement and held a campaign event in Pensacola, Florida near the Alabama city of Mobile. Trump criticized Jones as being pro-abortion, weak on crime, the military, illegal immigration, gun ownership, and veteran’s affairs and labeled him as a “Pelosi/Schumer Puppet.”
After the election was called in Jones’ favor, Trump offered a congratulatory tweet for a hard-fought victory, but acknowledged that “write-in votes played a very big factor,” alluding to the central premise in Moore’s argument on election night that the race was too close to concede given the outstanding verdict of some 22,000 write-in ballots, mostly those from troops deployed overseas from Alabama. The day after the election, the President distanced himself from the endorsement by twitter, stating:
By mid-day Thursday, Circuit Judge Johnny Hardwick dismissed Moore’s filing citing the court did not have jurisdiction over the matter.
According to Montgomery area NBC affiliate WSFA, the certification of the election “happened at 1:10pm [local time] in a ceremony with Gov. Kay Ivey, Secretary of State John Merrill, and Attorney General Steve Marshal each signing certification documents.”
Following the certification by the state’s canvassing board, Moore issued a statement that he “…had to fight not only the Democrats but also the Republican Senate Leadership Fund and over $50 million in opposition spending from the Washington establishment.” He went on to state, “I have stood for the truth about God and the constitution for the people of Alabama. I have no regrets. To God be the glory.” Before the certification, Jones’ issued a statement expressing he was “…looking forward to going to work for the people of Alabama in the new year,” citing his victory speech that this marks a new chapter for Alabama and the nation. He continued that he would “…be an independent voice and work to find common ground with [his] colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get Washington back on track and fight to make our country a better place for all.”
Despite Moore’s last minute theatrics, Senator elect Jones will be sworn in by Vice President Michael Pence on January 3, 2017, taking over the seat vacated by now Attorney General Jeff Sessions following a testy confirmation earlier this year.
In U.S. Senate elections in Alabama since 1998, Republicans have safely held both seats by 20-plus point margins. Jones’ victory will be the first time a Democrat has represented Alabama in the Senate in 25 years.
Democratic supporters are hoping Jones’ victory will be an early bellwether for Congressional races in 2018 and build upon the party’s successes in Virginia and New Jersey. Republicans held three closely watched congressional seats earlier this year in Georgia, South Carolina, and Wyoming. Whether Moore’s defeat is the result from allegations of sexual misconduct with teenagers, unpopularity of positions on social issues with the state’s moderately aligned voters, previous defeat in two statewide elections, or due to hesitant support of the President and the Republican National Committee remains to be developed. Another issue to develop is whether this election was a referendum on the Trump Presidency, given 11 months of sub-50 percent approval ratings in opinion polling.
Jones’ victory has been credited to record level turnout of African-American voters in the state’s fertile soiled black belt region, while Moore’s support stalled in rural white districts.