MONTGOMERY, Ala. >> Alabama officials today unhesitatingly pushed aside a legal challenge from Roy Moore and certified Doug Jones as the winner of this month’s U.S. Senate election.
The action, during a brief meeting at the State Capitol, was essentially the state’s final step before the seating of the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Alabama in a quarter century. It was also a swift rejection, by some of the state’s most powerful Republicans, of Moore’s complaint that he was the victim of “systematic voter fraud.”
Jones’ margin of victory was 21,924 votes with more than 1.3 million ballots cast.
The certification leaves Moore, 70, a former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court whose campaign faltered partly because of allegations of sexual misconduct against teenage girls, with almost no avenues to derail Jones’ ascension to the Senate. The election aftermath followed a familiar pattern for Moore. To this day, Republicans note, Moore has not conceded his losses in the 2006 or 2010 Republican primaries for governor, and there is already speculation in Montgomery that he might run for governor or attorney general next year.
Today, Moore seemed to come close to acknowledging his loss.
“I have stood for the truth about God and the Constitution for the people of Alabama,” he said in a statement. “I have no regrets. To God be the glory.”
Before the results of the Dec. 12 special election were certified and in the candidate’s statement afterward, Moore and his campaign left little doubt about their assessment of the vote.
In a lawsuit filed in a state court late Wednesday, Moore, who denied the allegations of sexual impropriety, complained that pervasive fraud had tainted the election, and that Alabama authorities had inadequately investigated potential misconduct.
But Secretary of State John H. Merrill, a Republican who voted for Moore, said he had found no evidence of endemic fraud and refused to postpone the certification. Judge Johnny Hardwick of Montgomery County Circuit Court, citing a lack of jurisdiction, dismissed Moore’s complaint minutes before the vote was certified.
Jones, whose transition team had called the lawsuit “a desperate attempt by Roy Moore to subvert the will of the people,” said in a statement that his victory “marks a new chapter for our state and the nation.”