NBC News projected Doug Jones the apparent winner of an extraordinary election that resulted in Alabama voters sending a Democrat to the Senate for the first time since 1992. Thanks for sticking with us.
Here are the highlights from Election Night:
- Democrat Doug Jones stunned the political world by defeating Republican Roy Moore in a contentious race that was flipped on its head after decades-old allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against Moore. African-Americans, women and moderates helped fuel Jones' win with stronger than expected turnout.
- Moore has refused to concede, however, and told supporters the race is not over in a speech late Tuesday. The Alabama Republican Party has acknowledged Jones as the winner and said in a statement "we respect the voting process."
- Republican finger pointing began immediately after the results became clear.
- For the second time in as many months, Democrats were energized by important electoral victories they painted as a rebuke of Republicans and President Donald Trump. Last month, Democrat Ralph Northam won a hotly contested governor's race in Virginia.
- Jones' apparent victory is the second loss for Trump in the Alabama race. The candidate he endorsed ahead of the GOP primary, Sen. Luther Strange, fell to Moore in September. He then endorsed Moore in the final weeks of the general election.
The large number of write-in votes in Tuesday night’s race — 22,780, according to the Alabama Secretary of State’s office — may have helped propel Doug Jones to victory.
Those ballots, however, won’t be counted until next Tuesday, leaving watchers of the tight Alabama race to wonder exactly how many votes prominent write-in candidates, including incumbent Sen. Luther Strange and Lee Busby, a retired Marine colonel, received.
Counting those write-ins, however, could also reveal additional votes for either Jones or Moore, which could, in theory, trigger a recount.
With 99 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday night, Jones had 673,236 votes, while Moore had 652,300 — a difference of 20,936. That number is less than the 22,780 write-in votes, meaning, theoretically, that Moore could have appeared as a write-in candidate on enough ballots to win.
Under Alabama election laws, a recount is required if the margin of victory is within 0.5 percent.
Nathan Mathis, a peanut farmer who said his gay daughter committed suicide, told NBC News that he hopes Jones' apparent victory Tuesday night improves how politicians talk about gay Americans.
“Hopefully people in politics will stop using gay folk to bash them. The voters need to make them stop that. There’s a lot more people gay than people realize," he told NBC News after major news organizations called the race for Jones.
Mathis stood outside a Moore rally on Monday night, imploring voters not to vote for the GOP candidate who has frequently espoused anti-LGBT views. He told his story to NBC News, which went viral, admitting that he had once been anti-gay himself and said "bad things" to his daughter which he now regrets.
Mathis said Tuesday night that he had struggled with his decision to protest on Monday, but ultimately credited Jones' victory to Democrats and Republicans who wrote in other candidates.
"I wrestled with myself about what I did last night," he said. "I’m really happy and hope and pray Doug will do a good job and help unite everybody. Help unite people and maybe get something done in Washington."
Roy Moore has not called Doug Jones to congratulate him on his apparent win or concede the race, a senior Jones campaign official confirms to NBC News.
Moore insisted Tuesday night that the race is too close to call and told supporters they are investigating the process for a recount.
With 99 percent of the vote in, Jones was leading 50-48 percent, or 673,236 votes to 652,300 votes — a margin of more than 20,000. The current margin appears too great for an automatic recount, which is triggered if the candidates are separated by less than half a percentage point, but Moore could call for a recount if he's willing to pay for one himself.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told CNN that it is “highly unlikely” the outcome of the race will change.
"There's not a whole lot of errors that occur," he said.
Meanwhile, the Alabama GOP released a statement acknowledging Jones' apparent win, saying that “while we are deeply disappointed...we respect the voting process given to us by our Founding Fathers."
Jones pulled off a narrow apparent victory over his Republican opponent thanks to several key groups. Stronger than expected turnout — especially from African-Americans — helped Jones overcome the state's conservative slant, echoing results Democrats have seen in other races this year.
Jones got support from a majority of black voters (96 percent), women (57 percent), moderates (74 percent) and those under 45 (61 percent).
Meanwhile, 52 percent of voters overall said that the allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore were definitely or probably true. These voters broke for Jones by a 81 point margin (89 percent to 8 percent, respectively).
Roy Moore refused to acknowledge defeat Tuesday night despite his opponent Doug Jones being declared the apparent winner. According to NBC News, Jones is up some 20,000 votes with 99 percent of votes counted.
“When the vote is this close, it’s not over,” Moore told supporters at his election night rally. “Part of the problem with this campaign is that we’ve been painted in an unfavorable and unfaithful light. We’ve been put in a hole."
He concluded: "Let this process play out.”
President Donald Trump congratulated Democrat Doug Jones on his apparent win Tuesday night while Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, one of Trump's top GOP critics, had a simple reaction to Republican Roy Moore's defeat.
An ebullient Doug Jones vowed to build bipartisan bridges in Washington and Alabama alike in his victory night speech Tuesday night, speaking to a crowd that could hardly contain their enthusiasm long enough to let him speak.
“I have always believed that the people of Alabama have more in common than divides us," Jones said. “We have shown the country the way that we can be unified.”
He thanked volunteers and praised their efforts to get out the vote — including 300,000 door knocks and 1.2 million phone calls — and particularly thanked minority voters who came out in historic numbers to support his candidacy.
Jones challenged his Washington colleagues to take his election as a sign that voters want progress, not politics. He did not speak about the sexual misconduct allegations that dogged opponent Roy Moore, or Moore's extreme views on gay Americans, slavery, and Muslims.
Instead, he argued his victory was one for justice and morality.
“At the end of the day, this entire race has been about dignity and respect. This campaign has been about the rule of law," he said. "This campaign has been about common courtesy and decency and making sure everyone in this state, regardless of which zip code you live in, is gonna get a fair shake in life."