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DEMOCRATIC Party candidate Doug Jones said Alabama had "more in common than what would divide us" after yesterday’s shock victory in a bitterly contested US senate election.
He became the first Democrat in 25 years to win a US senate seat in Alabama after a long and divisive campaign against controversial Republican candidate Roy Moore.
The election was held after US Attorney General Jeff Sessions vacated the seat earlier this year and is seen as a major blow to US President Donald Trump.
Mr Moore had proved a divisive figure and many long-standing Republicans refused to back him, switching their support to the Democrats after a string of allegations of sexual abuse against teenage girls emerged.
During his campaign Mr Moore had promised to put God back at the centre of politics and echoed Mr Trump's pledge to "make America great again" at a series of election rallies.
However his ultra-conservative views, including that homosexuality should be illegal and that Muslims are not fit to serve in Congress, proved too much for the Alabama electorate.
The former judge had received strong support from Mr Trump who urged people to back him in the poll.
Mr Jones’s unexpected win leaves the Senate delicately balanced with the Republican majority narrowed to 51-49. Democrats could regain control following mid-term elections in 2018.
Exit polls suggest that Mr Jones won 95 per cent of the African-American vote with just 27 per cent of the white vote.
Speaking after the projections were made, Mr Jones said: “Folks, I gotta tell you, I think that I have been waiting all my life and now I just don’t know what the hell to say ... I have always believed that the people of Alabama had more in common than what would divide us.
“This entire race has been about dignity and respect. This campaign has been about the rule of law. This campaign has been about common courtesy and decency and making sure everyone in this state, regardless of what zip code you live in, is going to get a fair shake."
Mr Jones won with 49.9 per cent of the vote, to Mr Moore's 48.4 per cent. All votes from precincts around the state have been counted.
Despite Mr Moore refusing to concede, the margin of victory is well above the half-percentage point that would have triggered an automatic recount.
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