The GOP Take: Why Roy Moore Lost His Senate Bid
Republicans across Alabama woke up in a state of shock Wednesday morning over Democrat Doug Jones’ stunning defeat of GOP candidate Roy Moore. A strong 40 percent turnout – much higher than state projections – was key to Jones’ victory, Republican strategist Jeff Vreeland said.
Jones also won solid support in urban areas and saw much support from African-American voters helped him beat Moore by 1.5 percentage points.
But as of Wednesday morning, Moore didn’t concede defeat. That’s not surprising to Republican strategist Jeff Vreeland. Nor is the idea that the 70-year-old Moore would stay politically active “I wouldn’t never count Roy Moore out of running for any office just because that’s who Roy Moore is,” he said. But running on the Alabama GOP ticket might be tough, Vreeland says, because Moore’s burned a lot of bridges.
Moore ran for governor twice and lost, and he was removed twice from the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to comply with federal court rulings – first on removing a Ten Commandments monument form the Alabama Judicial Building and again for refusing to acknowledge same-sex marriage.
Moore’s volatility has long rubbed some Alabama Republicans the wrong way, Vreeland says. “But Republican politics is Republican politics in Alabama and people wanted a Republican in this office, and they’re waking up to a U.S. Senator who is part of the Democratic party.”
Vreeland says many Republicans sat out the election and thousands wrote in a candidate of their choice rather than cast a vote for Jones, a Democrat.
The tipping point for many Republicans centered on allegations of sexual misconduct Moore faced in recent weeks. Several women beginning last month said Moore had either sexually harassed or assaulted them. The incidents mostly involved teenage girls when Moore was in his 30’s.
“I think there’s a lot of relief in general for America, just not having to deal with another allegation in the United States Senate,” he said.
Secretary of State John Merrill said military ballots will be counted over the next week, and write-in ballots will be reviewed. He said he would certify the final vote tally between Dec. 26 and Jan. 3.