We're starting with an unusual election in Alabama and its effect on the U.S. Senate. On Tuesday, a vote was held in the southern state. It was to fill a vacancy in the Senate that was left when Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions was appointed to the job of U.S. attorney general earlier this year.
Mr. Sessions is a Republican. In fact, everyone from Alabama who's won a U.S. Senate seat since 1992 was a Republican until Tuesday. That's when a Democratic candidate named Doug Jones defeated a Republican candidate named Roy Moore to win the seat. Though as of last night, Mr. Moore hadn't conceded. He hadn't officially accepted a loss.
The election was close. With 99 percent of ballot counted, Mr. Jones had won 49.9 percent of the vote. Mr. Moore had won 48.4 percent.
The race wasn't just unusual because a Democrat won in a state that usually votes Republican. Moore, a former supreme court chief justice for the state of Alabama is one of the politicians who's been named in a series of recent sexual harassment accusations made across America. Judge Moore was accused of behaving inappropriately in the past toward women who were underage. The candidate repeatedly denied all the allegations, and questioned the timing and details about them.
But despite that and an endorsement that Moore received relatively late in the race from Republican U.S. President Donald Trump, Jones emerged victorious on Tuesday night. The former federal prosecutor said he was overwhelmed by the victory and that his campaign had been about making sure that everyone in Alabama is going to get a fair shake in life.
Senator-elect Jones will serve out the remainder of former Senator Jeff Sessions' term, but it won't begin immediately.TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Take a look at these numbers. These are the ones that really matter. Republicans came in to this election with 52 seats under their control in the U.S. Senate. Democrats and their allies had 48 and the new numbers will be 51 and 49.
It may not look like much, but that is a world of difference. That's why President Trump so wanted Roy Moore to win and not Doug Jones, because with that one shift of the vote, it becomes significantly harder for the Republicans to pass any of his legislation on border control, budgets, entitlement.
In fact, if you even talk about this giant tax reform package they're working on, if Doug Jones is seated before the final vote on this, a single Republican defection could burn it to the ground.
So, what are the odds of that happening?
Well, we have to look at the calendar. The secretary of state of Alabama has to certify the vote result before Jones can take the oath. That will probably happen down here, around 27th, 28th, 29th, which means Jones probably get sworn in early next year, January.
But what are the Republicans are trying to do is get this tax plan fully approved, finished by the 22nd. So, if nothing else changes and Democrats can do nothing to speed up this calendar, they have no power over that, the two will not come together in all likelihood, and Doug Jones will not be able to derail the Republicans' last big stab at some kind of big legislation this year, before the numbers change and maybe the whole equation changes with it.
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