Alabama Senate race: Doug Jones wins, but Roy Moore isn't conceding

Last Updated Dec 13, 2017 11:16 AM EST

Alabama Senate special election results: Doug Jones wins

Democrat Doug Jones, a widely respected former U.S. attorney, has narrowly defeated Republican Roy Moore, the embattled former chief justice, in Alabama's special Senate election. That makes Jones the first Democrat to be elected to the United States Senate in Alabama in 25 years. 

With all counties reporting, the Alabama Secretary of State reported Jones with 49.92 percent of the vote, and Moore with 48.38 percent of the vote. 

"This entire race has been about dignity and respect," Jones said in his victory speech. "This campaign has been about the rule of law."

But Moore says he isn't conceding yet. He wants a recount, he said in brief remarks late Tuesday night. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told CNN any candidate can request a recount, if they pay for it on their own. But he also said it's very unlikely the outcome for Jones changes. 

Jones' win gives Republicans just a 51-49 edge in the Senate. 


As-it-happened updates:

11:49 p.m. Alabama secretary of state says Jones will likely still win

Despite Moore's call for a recount election, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told CNN it's "highly unlikely" the end result will be anything other than a Jones win. Merrill said any candidate can request a recount, if they pay for it.

11:34 p.m. Moore says he isn't conceding

In what was believed to be a concession speech, Moore said "it's not over" and talked about a recount. The issue will be revisited in the morning, he said.

But Alabama state law allows for an automatic recount only when the vote is within half of a percent.

11:30 p.m.: Here is how Jones won:

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African-American turnout was crucial. 

CBS News
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A small group of Republicans voted for Jones, and those crossover votes were crucial.

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Women, black voters and young voters went for Jones.

CBS News
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The president's job approval in Alabama is evenly divided. 

CBS News

11:10 p.m. Trump responds to Jones' victory

President Trump tweeted congratulations to Jones, saying Republicans would have another chance.

10:56 p.m. CBS News calls race for Jones, who claims victory

"I think that I have been waiting all my life and now I just don't know what the hell to say," Jones said, taking the stage.

"I have always believed that the people of Alabama had more in common than what would divide us," he added.

10:52 p.m.: "Decency wins," Jeff Flake tweets 

Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake -- who donated a $100 check to Jones' campaign and said he would vote for him if he lived in Alabama -- tweeted "decency wins."

10:30 p.m.: Jones tweets thanks, his election victory party exuberant

Jones -- his election victory party exuberant -- tweeted his thanks to voters at 10:30 p.m.

10:23 p.m. AP calls the race for Doug Jones

AP sends out an alert calling Jones the victor in the race over Moore.

9:45 p.m. Write-in candidates make up barely 1 percent

Write-in candidates are not much of a factor so far in the race -- although they could be, if it's incredibly close. So far, there are only 1,389 write-in votes, or 1.23 percent of the vote so far.

9:22 p.m. Returns show Moore with slight advantage so far

Moore is slightly ahead of Jones so far, although only a handful of counties have reported, according to the Alabama Secretary of State. Moore leads Jones 54.1 percent to 44.3 percent.

8:48 p.m. New exit polls reveal race, gender gap

There is a gender gap in the election. More than half of men are voting for Moore (57 percent), while more than half of women voted for Jones (57 percent). Much of that support for Jones however is from African-American women. White women are still backing Moore with about two-thirds of their votes.

So far, African-Americans make up about 30 percent of the electorate. If that holds, it would surpass the 28 percent of the vote African-Americans made up when Barack Obama was re-elected in 2012. More than nine in 10 black voters are backing Jones.

More voters have a favorable view of Jones (50 percent) than Moore (41 percent).

Of the last-minute deciders -- the 10 percent of voters who decided in the last few days -- they threw their support behind Moore (56 percent) to Jones (37 percent).

8:25 p.m. Alabama Secretary of State publishes first results

It's only 174 votes, but the Alabama Secretary of State published its first results at roughly 8:25 p.m.

8:16 p.m. Does Doug Jones have the numbers?

CBS News Political Director Steve Chaggaris talks about whether Jones, at this point, has the votes to overcome Moore's supporters.

8 p.m. Polls close in Alabama -- the race appears to be close

Polls have closed in Alabama. It will take a short period of time, however, for the first results to begin rolling in on the Alabama Secretary of State's website.

But the race appears to be close so far, as CBS News has been interviewing voters leaving the polling place throughout the day.

7 p.m. Polls close in one hour

Voters in Alabama have one hour left to go to the polls. CBS News will begin reporting results as soon as they become available.

6:48 p.m. McConnell holding meeting Wednesday to decide what to do if Moore wins

CBS News has confirmed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Senate leaders will meet Wednesday morning to discuss what to do after the election, if Moore wins. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, confirmed the meeting.

In the past, McConnell has said the Senate should launch an ethics investigation into Moore, while Sen. Cory Gardner, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has said the Senate should expel him.

6:28 p.m. Moore posts Trump robocall

Moore took to Twitter earlier in the afternoon to post the audio of the robocall Mr. Trump recorded on his behalf.

"Hi, this is President Donald Trump, and I need Alabama to go vote for Roy Moore!" he says in the recorded call.

6:14 p.m. More exit poll results -- voters evenly split on Trump's job performance

In a state that overwhelmingly voted for Mr. Trump over Hillary Clinton just one year ago, Alabama voters do not see him as glowingly now. At this point, Alabama voters are split on the president's job performance -- 48 percent approve ant 48 percent disapprove. 

Both major political parties are viewed unfavorably by more than half of Alabama voters.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell isn't popular either. Roughly 69 percent of voters view him unfavorably.

5:51 p.m.: CBS News speaks with Alabama voters

CBS News spoke with some voters in Alabama, where, across the state, there was a steady stream of voters in small towns and big cities.

Brenda McClusky proudly voted for Moore.

McClusky said she always thought he was a good man, and doesn't "pay attention" to much of the "talk" about him.

The Jones campaign has hoped to motivate young and African-American voters to elect the first Democrat to the Senate in a quarter century.

Pastor Kenneth Glasgow told CBS News on Monday that he helped register first-time voters, saying they have a "chance" now.

5:20 p.m.: First early exit polls released

The first exit polls are released, revealing Alabama voters divided on the validity of the allegations against Moore. More than four in 10 believe they are false. Most Jones voters believe the accusations, while most of Moore's voters do not. 

For about 40 percent of voters, the allegations were the most important factor in their vote, mostly for Jones voters. Moore voters were more motivated by their support for Mr. Trump. Early exit polling shows Jones supporters more staunchly behind their candidate than those behind Moore.

Furthermore, most voters had already made up their minds by November -- before the allegations against Moore surfaced.

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The majority of voters had already decided who to vote fore before the allegations against Moore arose 

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Early exit poll from Alabama special election

CBS News poll

-- Results from CBS News' Jennifer DePinto 

4:50 p.m.: Roy Moore spokesman says Moore "probably" still believes homosexual conduct should be illegal

CNN's Jake Tapper invited Ted Crockett, spokesman for the Moore campaign, on his show Tuesday, and asked if Moore still believes homosexual conduct should be illegal, as he did in 2005. At first, Crockett was unsure how to answer. Pressed again by Tapper, Crockett said Moore "probably" still believes that. Crockett was unable to answer how such behavior should be punished, if it were illegal.

Crockett also suggested Muslims can't serve in Congress because they would have to serve on a Christian Bible, even though doing so it not a legal requirement, as Tapper pointed out. Crockett said that Trump was sworn in on a Bible.

4:26 p.m.: First exit polls expected soon

The first exit polls are expected to come as early as 5 p.m. Those will likely give some indication of voter sentiment and turnout. Until then, little information from voting will be available.

3:59 p.m.: Clear skies expected for remainder of voting

Weather forecasts predict clear skies -- and virtually no drops of rain -- for most of the state, meaning weather shouldn't hinder voters as they continue to head to the polls. The high in Montgomery is 57 degrees, and the high in Birmingham is 52 degrees. 

3:43 p.m.: Shelby won't say who voted for -- but it wasn't Moore

Shelby, caught by reporters in the Russell basement, declined to say who he voted for earlier in the day. But whoever it was, it wasn't Moore.

 I know Roy Moore but I'll tell you, I didn't vote for him," he said.

3:15 p.m.: DHS monitoring election from Alabama

The Department of Homeland Security is keeping tabs on the Alabama Senate election. The DHS official in charge of protecting critical infrastructure said DHS officials are in Alabama, alongside state officials, monitoring for any cyber trouble with the election.

"We are side by side with state election officials ,"Christopher Krebs told reporters, adding that  DHS is on a "heightened posture."

Krebs stressed so far they have not detected any cyber issues.

2:15 p.m.: Voters think Senate should expel Moore if he wins

A new Quinnipiac poll finds that voters overwhelmingly disapprove of Mr. Trump's decision to endorse Moore in the election. Of those polled, 63 disapproved of the president's endorsement, 21 percent approved and 16 percent were unsure. Even some Republicans disapproved of the president's decision. Of the Republicans polled, 50 percent approved of the president's endorsement, and an equal number disapproved or were unsure -- 25 percent.

The same poll also found voters want Moore out of the Senate, if he's elected. A total of 60 percent of voters said Moore should be expelled if he wins. Of Republicans, 25 percent said he should be expelled if he wins, 65 percent said he should be allowed to stay, and 10 percent were unsure. An overwhelming 86 percent of Democrats said he should be expelled.

12:30 p.m.: Moore and his wife vote

Roy Moore and his wife, Kayla Moore, arrived at their polling place on horseback in Gallant, Ala., late Tuesday morning. They ride horses to each election in which Moore is a candidate.

Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore departs on horseback after he cast his ballot in Gallant, Alabama

Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore departs on horseback after he cast his ballot in Gallant, Ala. on Dec. 12, 2017.

Reuters

9:15 a.m.: Jones casts his vote

Doug Jones cast his vote after 9 a.m. ET at Brookwood Baptist Church in Mountain Brook, Ala., a Birmingham suburb, and he also plans to greet voters outside various polling locations around Alabama. After the polls close, he'll join supporters for an Election Night watch party in Birmingham. He told reporters afterward that he didn't think Moore would win. In Alabama, there's a saying, he said: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Alabama's not going to let that shame happen again."

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Democratic Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Doug Jones speaks with the media after casting his vote at Brookwood Baptist Church in Mountain Brook, Alabama, Dec. 12, 2017.

Reuters

A little over an hour after polls opened, President Trump tweeted that the people of Alabama "will do the right thing," and he attacked Democrat Doug Jones as "Pro-Abortion, weak on Crime, Military and Illegal Immigration, Bad for Gun Owners and Veterans and against the WALL." He called Jones "a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet" and declared that "Roy Moore will always vote with us."