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Live blog: Doug Jones beats Roy Moore in Alabama Senate race

In a stunning upset over Republican Roy Moore, Democrat Doug Jones is the projected winner in Tuesday's Alabama Senate race, according to an NBC News projection. Here's how the big night unfolded.

Doug Jones triumphs over Roy Moore in AL Sen. race 2:54

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Andrew Rafferty

That's a wrap. Here are the highlights from Election Night.

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.

Thousands of write-in votes to be counted next week

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.

Vaughn Hillyard

Farmer whose gay daughter committed suicide says he's hopeful after Jones' victory

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."

What the front page of Birmingham's newspaper will look like tomorrow

Jane C. Timm

After refusing to concede, Moore has not called Jones

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."

Exit poll: Black voters, women, moderates fueled Jones' apparent win

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). 

Jane C. Timm

Roy Moore won't concede, tells supporters 'it's not over'

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.”

ICYMI: Doug Jones' full victory speech

Trump reacts to Roy Moore loss in Alabama

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.

Jane C. Timm

Jones vows unity, progress in victory speech

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."

Jane C. Timm

Democrats rejoice after Alabama race called for Jones

Andrew Rafferty

GOP finger-pointing begins moments after Jones' apparent win

The Republican finger-pointing began just moments after it appeared Democrat Doug Jones had defeated Republican Roy Moore.

“Not only did Steve Bannon cost us a critical Senate seat in one of the most Republican states in the country, but he also dragged the President of the United States into his fiasco,” the Mitch McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund said in a statement.

Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, railed against McConnell and establishment Republicans while helping push Moore’s controversial candidacy. Trump had endorsed Moore’s Republican primary opponent, Sen. Luther Strange, but supported Moore ahead of Tuesday’s general election despite multiple allegations against Moore of sexual misconduct.

 

Jane C. Timm

Doug Jones celebrates: 'Thank you, Alabama!'

Jane C. Timm

NBC News: Doug Jones is apparent winner in Alabama

Doug Jones is the apparent winner in the Alabama Senate race, according to the NBC News Decision Desk, beating out Republican Roy Moore in a stunning upset.

He is the first Democrat to win a Senate seat in deep-red Alabama in decades, pulling out a stunning but slim victory in a race most believed was decided by the Republican primary six weeks ago.

Jones was catapulted into a surprisingly competitive race after Moore was accused of sexual misconduct by nine women. He campaigned heavily in the final weeks of the election — particularly appealing to black voters whose historic turnout helped boost his campaign to a win — while Moore shunned the spotlight in an attempt to weather the accusations. 

Andrew Rafferty

Booker: Former Senate pages 'outraged' over Moore candidacy

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said former Senate pages have contacted him to express their “outrage” over Roy Moore’s possible election.

Pages are high school students, age 16 or older, who work on Capitol Hill. Booker is among the Democratic lawmakers who have publicly expressed concerns for their safety if Moore, who is accused of making sexual advances towards teenagers, is elected.  

“Someone who is banned from a mall does not belong in the United States Senate,” Booker told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, referencing a media report that Moore was banned from an Alabama mall for inappropriate behavior. Moore has denied the allegations and ever being banned from the mall.

Booker also said Democrat Doug Jones has energized African-American voters who will be key if he is to defeat Moore in deep-red Alabama. 

 

Moore arrives at his election night event in Montgomery

Jane C. Timm

Jones leads in Talladega, Alabama’s bellwether county

Doug Jones is leading in bellwether Talladega County, NBC News reported Tuesday.

Jones leads there by two points. As of Tuesday evening at 9:57 p.m., NBC News was still characterizing the overall statewide race as too close to call.

The midsize county has racial demographics that are fairly representative of the state as a whole — about two-thirds of the county's residents are white — and it's historically been a good predicator of how the state will vote.

In the 2016 presidential election, as NBC News' Jonathan Allen reported earlier today, Trump won 62 percent statewide and 61.7 percent in Talladega. Similarly, when Moore won the primary runoff against Sen. Luther Strange in September, he took 52.7 percent of the county's Republican votes, compared to the 54.6 percent he won across Alabama.

Carrie Dann

How will Jones do in Alabama's most densely populated areas?

One of the big remaining questions in this race — which is still too close to call, according to NBC News' Decision Desk — is how Doug Jones will perform in Alabama’s most densely populated areas, including Mobile and Montgomery (where very little of the vote has been counted yet) and Jefferson — the state’s largest county and home to the city of Birmingham.

Jefferson County, like many other large counties in America, has been growing more and more Democratic. It voted for Republicans in presidential contests as recently as 2004 but has become a pretty solid liberal bastion even as the rest of the state has become dramatically redder.

In fact, the divergence between Jefferson and the rest of Alabama since 2000 is one of the most dramatic trend lines of any state in the country, according to an analysis by NBC News last month. 

We won’t know how significant Jones’ margins are in those large urban counties until we see more votes, but it’s fair to say that this election is likely to underscore the growing divide between urban and rural areas around the United States. 

What 2012 numbers can tell us about tonight's race

Exit poll: Parents prefer Jones, while those without kids like Moore

Voters with kids under 18 still living at home favor Democrat Doug Jones by a 14-point margin, while those without children favor Moore by 3 points, according to NBC News exit poll results. 

This preference is evident in other attitudes as well — especially related to sexual misconduct allegations levied against Moore in the weeks prior to the election. Parents are more likely to say they think the allegations against Moore are true. Voters without children are more split.  

Meanwhile, moms are also more likely than dads to say they think the allegations against Roy Moore are true.