MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore refused to concede defeat Tuesday night in the race against Democrat Doug Jones, instead telling supporters they need to “wait on God” and let the process play out.
Moore said the problem with the campaign was that it put him in an “unfavorable” and ”unfaithful light.”
He told a crowd of supporters in Montgomery, he’s been “put in a hole, if you will.” He quoted part of Psalm 40, saying he would wait patiently on the Lord to hear his cry, to lift him out of the hole and set his feet on the ground.
“Realize when the vote is this close, that it’s not over,” Moore said. “We have to go by the rules about this recount provision.” He told the crowd, “We also know that God is always in control.”
Moore didn’t mention Jones in his remarks.
Under Alabama law, a recount is automatically triggered if the vote is within a half percentage point. The current margin shows Jones ahead by 1.5 percent, about 20,000 votes.
Moore won both the Republican primary and a runoff against sitting U.S. Sen. Luther Strange for the chance to fill the seat vacated by now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
But his campaign was rocked last month by a report from the Washington Post that alleged Moore engaged in sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old, four decades ago. He denied the claims, but another woman came forward shortly after the first reports and alleged he’d sexually assaulted her in his car in 1979.
Moore’s campaign appearances came to a near-standstill in the last weeks of the campaign, though surrogates spoke on his behalf, frequently denouncing the accusations against him. He didn’t take general media questions for nearly four weeks before Tuesday’s vote.
Secretary of State John Merrill addressed the media late Tuesday night. He said the votes cast in the Senate race will be certified between Dec. 26 and Jan. 3. At that point, he said, a recount would be triggered if the voting margin shrinks to .50 percent. If not, the Moore campaign can request a recount after the vote tally is certified.
But the Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said Tuesday night the Senate race was over.
"While we are deeply disappointed in the extremely close U.S. Senate election results, with our candidate Judge Roy Moore, we respect the voting process given to us by our Founding Fathers," Lathan said. "We are grateful to the army of Republican volunteers who sacrificed their time to help during this most important race. We are also thankful to President Trump and RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel for their support. Good conservative government and policies are always worth pursuing.
"Now that this race has ended, may this holiday season of peace, love and hope resonate with everyone, regardless of one's political affiliation."