Three Reasons Alabama Made Democrat Doug Jones its Next Senator
In a dramatic and highly contentious race, Alabama voters on Tuesday elected Democrat Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate. Jones will occupy the seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. This marks the first time in a quarter century an Alabama Democrat won a U.S. Senate seat.
There were a few main reasons Jones beat Republican Roy Moore, according to Democratic pollster Zac McCrary:
Democratic votes surged statewide, especially in urban areas including Jefferson County as well as Alabama’s Black Belt region, the state’s poorest region. Statewide, 96 percent of African Americans supported Jones, a percentage point higher than supported former President Barack Obama in 2012.
McCrary says many GOP voters “just could not bring themselves to vote for Roy Moore.” Moore’s popularity among more mainstream Republican voters was shaky even before allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against Moore. “Roy Moore was already a damaged candidate before the reports of predatory behavior surfaced,” McCrary says.
Some voted for Jones, some chose a write-in candidate, and some stayed home on Election Day, he says.
Limits to Party Loyalty
There are limits to partisanship. “Voters will only be pushed so far, and then they push back. And that’s what we saw last night, was a rejection of a divisive style of politics even in a very red state,” McCrary says.
A Look Ahead
The lesson for Democrats looking to 2018? A good Democratic candidate can catch lightening in a bottle, McCrary says. Jones, he says, is the prototype for that brand of political success.