The leader of the Alabama Republican party has declared the state’s Senate race over, contradicting the claims of his party's own candidate.
“While we are deeply disappointed in the extremely close US Senate election results, with our candidate Judge Roy Moore, we respect the voting process given to us by our Founding Fathers,” Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said in a statement.
The Republican candidate, Mr Moore, lost to his Democratic opponent in a shocking special election for the state’s US Senate seat. With 100 per cent of the votes counted on Tuesday night, Mr Moore trailed his opponent, Doug Jones, by more than 20,000 votes. But the former state judge refused to concede, saying he would seek a recount.
“When the vote is this close, it is not over,” Mr Moore told his supporters. The devout Christian added he would “wait on God and let this process play out”.
His party chairman disagreed, concluding his statement by saying "this race has ended".
“Now that this race has ended, may this holiday season of peace, love and hope resonate with everyone, regardless of one’s political affiliation,” Mr Lathan said.
Even President Donald Trump appeared to accept the election results, tweeting his congratulations to Mr Jones while warning him not to get too comfortable in his seat. Mike Huckabee, the former Governor of Arkansas and a fellow staunch Christian, urged Mr Moore to bow out.
“Roy Moore won’t concede; says will wait on God to speak,” Mr Huckabee tweeted. “God wasn’t registered to vote in AL but the ppl who voted did speak and it wasn’t close enough for recount."
He added: "In elections everyone does NOT get a trophy. I know first hand but it’s best to exit with class.”
Mr Jones’s shocking upset in the traditionally conservative state was likely aided by the sexual misconduct allegations that followed Mr Moore in the last months of his campaign. In early November, four women told the Washington Post that Mr Moore had pursued them romantically, and even sexually, when they were teenagers and he was in his thirties.
Several more women came forward in the weeks following to accuse Mr Moore of inappropriate advances, and even sexual assault. Mr Moore denied these allegations, and Mr Trump endorsed him in spite of them.
But the allegations appear to have changed the minds of many voters – including one of the state’s current, Republican Senators, Richard Shelby.
“I couldn't vote for Roy Moore. I didn't vote for Roy Moore," Mr Shelby told CNN, adding: “[T]he state of Alabama deserves better."
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