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Today, Alabama voters head to the polls for a Senate race that has gained national attention amid a growing number of women coming forward and saying that the Republican candidate Roy Moore sexually assaulted or engaged in sexual misconduct with them when they were minors.
The election was once expected to be an easy win for Moore, but since the accusations from numerous women have come out, the race has tightened considerably. The race came under more scrutiny when Trump began readily supporting Roy Moore even after a report that Moore sexually assaulted a 14-year-old and attempted to rape a 16-year-old.
Here is a brief rundown about the race between Moore and Jones, what to watch for as the results come in starting at 7pm CT, and a live tally of the results courtesy of Decision Desk HQ. (Some browsers may need to refresh for the latest results to appear.)
Alabama Senate Election results live
Who is Roy Moore?
Roy Moore, 70, is a controversial hard-line conservative. In 2001, as the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Moore ordered that a large statue of the Ten Commandments be placed in the building. He was ordered to remove it, and when he did not comply with the order, he was removed from the bench by a judicial ethics panel. Moore became a judge again in 2012 and was removed in 2016 for refusing to uphold gay marriage laws.
Moore has also been criticized of Islamophobia. In 2006, when Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) became the first Muslim elected to Congress, Moore wrote an op-ed where he argued that Ellison could not serve in Congress because the “Judeo-Christian God” was the “source of our law and liberty.”
Moore’s campaign has suffered since numerous women came forward with their stories of sexual misconduct by Moore. In mid-November, the Washington Post first published a story where Leigh Corfman said Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 14 years old. Since then, a number of women have also come forward saying he engaged in sexual misconduct with them—including attempted rape—when they were minors.
Moore has denied any wrongdoing.
Amid the sexual misconduct accusations, support for Moore among Republicans largely evaporated—with several high-profile party leaders such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calling for him to step out of the race. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) donated $100 to Jones’ campaign saying that it was because he wanted “country over party” to prevail.
However, President Donald Trump officially endorsed Moore earlier this month, and he has since tweeted several times in support of him. The White House has indicated that they want a senator in the seat that supports the president’s agenda. Moore won the Republican run-off in Alabama against Luther Strange, who Trump originally endorsed.
In October, Moore had a 46.7 percent to 42.3 percent lead in the Alabama Senate race, according to an average of several polls combined by Real Clear Politics. His popularity waned in mid-November amid the accusations of sexual misconduct—even at one point dipping below Jones. He has since risen to a 48.4 percent to 45.9 percent lead.
Who is Doug Jones?
Doug Jones, 63, is a former U.S. attorney who is well-known for prosecuting members of the Ku Klux Klan who bombed a Black church in 1963.
In the early 2000s, Jones brought charges against three men, including two KKK members, involved in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham–which killed four girls. He urged the FBI to release tapes and evidence, including wiretaps, to help convict the bombers. In early November, Jones tweeted that the case was the “most important thing” he’s done.
Jones was appointed by former President Bill Clinton as a U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama in 1997.
High-profile Democrats, such as Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and former Vice President Joe Biden, have campaigned for Jones. With the sexual misconduct claims coming against Moore, Jones has seen a path to victory. A SuperPAC supporting Jones has spent $3.6 million as of last week. That’s compared to two major groups supporting Moore spending a total of $1.4 million, according to the Washington Post.
However, Jones’ campaign has not been without controversy. An ad placed by the Doug Jones for Senate Committee was criticized as being racist after it showed a picture of a Black man with the words: “Think if a black man went after high school girls anyone would try to make him a senator?”
Jones won the Democratic primary in Alabama in August by defeating six other candidates.
Alabama Senate Election results live: Is there anyone else on the ballot?
Ron Bishop and Arlester McBride are both write-in candidates who are attempting to make a dent in the race, according to Ballotpedia.
Why does this matter?
If Moore wins, it could create add to an already contentious time in Congress. In the past several weeks two lawmakers—Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.)—resigned over sexual misconduct allegations. A third lawmaker, Rep. Blake Farenthold, is also being investigated by the House Ethics Committee. Farenthold used taxpayer money to pay a sexual harassment settlement to a former aide. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) announced his retirement amid a growing number of sexual harassment claims.
Adding Moore to the mix could create a firestorm.
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said he would support expelling Moore from the Senate if he were elected, according to Politico, and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said the Senate would have a “very tough decision to make” in regards to not seating Moore or expelling him.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Moore’s election would have far-reaching consequences ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
“Roy Moore will be the gift that keeps on giving for the Democrats,” he told CNN. “It will define the 2018 election… To think you can elect Roy Moore without getting the baggage of Roy Moore is pretty naive.”
As for Jones, he would give Democrats another seat in the Senate, narrowing the Republicans already slim majority. As seen in past votes for healthcare or the tax bill, Senate Republicans call not afford to lose seats for controversial votes.
Alabama Senate election results live: Roy Moore vs Doug Jones
Polls close at 7pm CT. You can watch live results of Alabama’s Senate election below, powered by Decision Desk HQ:
Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).