A perfect storm: How Doug Jones won, and how Dems can win again in Alabama

Democrats, along with some Republicans, came together Tuesday in Alabama and elected to the Senate a well-qualified and reasonable candidate in Doug Jones.

“Alabama turned the page tonight. Roy Moore’s chapter is over,” Jones’s campaign manager, Wade Perry, told 50 States of Blue.

Jones became the first Democrat in 
11 years to win a statewide race and the first Democrat to win a U.S. Senate seat in 25 years, defeating Roy Moore by about 20,000 votes out of over 1.3 million cast.

The 40 percent of registered voters who turned out far exceeded predictions by Secretary of State John Merrill of a 20-25 percent turnout. 1.3 million votes were cast, compared to less than half of that in the August primaries.

There was always a map to victory for Jones, especially after allegations surfaced that Moore committed sexual misconduct with teenage girls while he was a deputy district attorney in the late 70’s. But it seemed to require a perfect storm of events for Jones to pull it off: African Americans turning out in Obama-like numbers, the college educated and younger voting to break for Jones, and enough Republicans following the advice of Alabama Senator Richard Shelby and writing in someone else.

But then the perfect storm actually hit, and Jones actually won.

The hard work by campaign staff, volunteers, and supporters no doubt played a large role in Jones’s victory. As did money, and Jones had lots of it — he outspent Moore on television ads by a margin of almost 6 to 1.

Moore still ran strong throughout Northern Alabama (with the exception of Madison County, home to a large aerospace industry) and easily carried the vote in small towns and rural areas, where Moore’s base has remained strong. But Jones blew him away in cities with populations over 50,000, where support of Jones was at 71 percent.

And then there is the Black Belt, the heavily African American region that turned out and voted overwhelmingly for Jones, who garnered 96 percent of the black vote. Named for its rich fertile soil and not its residents, the Black Belt is known for its dire socioeconomic situation and support of Democrats.

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