- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 28, 2017

Alabama certified Democrat Doug Jones on Thursday as the winner of the special election to fill the state’s open Senate seat, ignoring GOP candidate Roy Moore filed a last-minute legal challenge trying to derail the outcome.

Gov. Kay Ivey, Attorney General Steve Marshall and Secretary of State John Merrill — all Republicans — attended the Alabama State Canvassing Board meeting, where the results were certified declaring Mr. Jones the senator-elect. He’s set to be sworn in on Jan. 3.

“I am looking forward to going to work for the people of Alabama in the new year,” Mr. Jones said in a statement after the announcement.

Mr. Moore had gone to court Wednesday trying to head off certification and demanding a new election be held, saying the results — which saw Mr. Jones win by 1.5 percentage points — didn’t track with polling, and may have been tainted by election fraud.

Mr. Moore said Mr. Merrill, the secretary of state, failed to pursue those questions of fraud, and said the sordid campaigning leading up to the election demands a revote.

An Alabama judge refused Mr. Moore’s request Thursday.

SEE ALSO: Roy Moore files lawsuit to block Alabama Senate result

Mr. Merrill said on CNN that out of 100 fraud complaints over 60 were investigated, but none was found to be valid.

Mr. Jones, a Democrat, won by over 20,000 votes on Dec. 12. Mr. Moore, a Republican, has repeatedly refused to concede the race, despite reports that both Steve Bannon — an early backer of Mr. Moore — and President Trump have asked him to do so.

Mr. Moore saw a steady decline in support after several women came forward in a Washington Post story saying he had pursued sexual relationships with them when they were teens and he was a lawyer in his 30s. More accusations followed, fueled by the national conversation over sexual misconduct.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Moore criticized the process and said the election was stolen.

“If they can steal the election from Roy Moore, Gov. Ivey, they can steal it from you, or Secretary of State Merrill, it can happen to you,” Janet Porter, a spokeswoman for Mr. Moore, said on CNN just before the results were certified.

Attorneys for Mr. Moore also tried to address the allegations of sexual misconduct in their lawsuit submitting polygraph tests Mr. Moore took days after the Dec. 12 election. They say the results show no wrongdoing on his part, according to a report from Alabama.com.

The lawsuit also asks any accusers to submit their polygraph test to the state association for verification.

Those allegations left the Republican Party on unstable footing heading into the race.

With Mr. Jones’s certification, senators have given every indication he will be sworn in when Congress convenes in the new year.

He will lessen the GOP’s majority from 52-48 to 51-49 — though Republican leaders say most of what they want to accomplish in 2018 would require 60 votes anyway, so the change in numbers doesn’t make a major difference.

Lawmakers are, though, wondering whether Mr. Jones will attempt to break with fellow Democrats more often than other red-state Democratic senators, who by and large have voted with their party leaders against the Trump agenda.

Mr. Jones says he’ll be mindful of his state.

“As I said on election night, our victory marks a new chapter for our state and the nation,” he said after Thursday’s certification. “I will be an independent voice and work to find common ground with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get Washington back on track and fight to make our country a better place for all.”

• Sally Persons can be reached at spersons@washingtontimes.com.

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