In early December 2017, Black voters placed former federal prosecutor Doug Jones into the U.S. Senate with a dramatic and close win in Alabama. Jones is the first Democrat to win in Alabama in a quarter of a century.
Now Jones is being urged to make his staff a reflection of those who placed him in office. Joined by 16 other organizations, the Joint Center, led by Prof. Spencer Overton, urger Sen-Elect Jones “to commit to hiring a staff that reflects his constituents’ racial diversity.”
Jones beat controversial Republican nominee Roy Moore by a percentage of 49.9 to 48.4 with Jones winning over 671,151 voters as compared with Moore’s 650,436. There were 22,819 write-in votes as a result of many Republicans rejecting Moore’s candidacy.
Over 95% of black voters voted for Jones. The percentage of turnout for black voters for Jones for the December 12 special election in Alabama was higher than for President Obama in 2008 in the state. A stat no one predicted before the election.
Jones crushed Moore in three particular counties: Jefferson, Madison and Mobile, where Black voters showed up at the polls in dramatic fashion with massive turnout in the “black belt.” Black voters in Alabama made up 29 percent of the votes. Black women voted for Jones at 98 percent and Black men voted for Jones at 93 percent.
In September, Jones’ opponent and Republican nominee Roy Moore made bizarre comments on slavery. “I think it was great at a time when families were united, even though we had slavery, they cared for one another. People were strong in the families. Our families were strong, our country had a direction, and we corrected many of the problems,” Jones said.
The win was an embarrassing and stunning defeat for Donald Trump and his former White House political advisor Steve Bannon in one of America’s most reliably Republican states. The special election for the vacant Senate seat of Attorney Jeff Sessions in Alabama in now held by a Democrat.
The Democratic Party has been under heavy criticism for taking black voters for granted and failing to fund grassroots organizations that assist with African American outreach efforts.
As a former federal prosecutor who went after the murderers of four girls who were killed at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama on Sunday, September 15, 1963, Doug Jones was able to win the attention of Black voters.
That tragic bombing by the Ku Klux Klan killed Addie Mae Collins (age 14, born April 18, 1949), Carol Denise McNair (age 11, born November 17, 1951), Carole Robertson (age 14, born April 24, 1949), and Cynthia Wesley (age 14, born April 30, 1949). The murders were a turning point in the civil rights movement.
Jones prosecuted Thomas Edwin Blanton Jr. and Bobby Frank Cherry, two members of the Ku Klux Klan, for their roles in the 1963 murders. Jones was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1997, to be U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama
The Washington Post conducted an investigation of Roy Moore that revealed that he dated several underage girls while he was in his thirties.
Tina Johnson, who had accused Roy Moore of sexual misconduct, wept after Doug Jones was named the winner of Alabama’s special election.