Alabama’s Black voters carried the day, pulling off a stunning victory for Democrat Doug Jones in his contentious race against Republican Roy Moore, accused of sexual misconduct with teenage girls when he was in his 30s.
Moore, who also recently said America was last great during slavery, has refused to concede the Dec. 12 election, which Jones won by at least 20,715 votes (671,151-650,436). Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill says the votes will be certified between Dec. 26 and Jan. 3 and that it is “highly unlikely” that Moore will advance to win. Merrill says some overseas and military ballots will now be added, but not hardly close enough for a Moore win.
African-Americans reportedly voted for Jones with 96 percent, according to CNN, higher than the Black vote for President Barack Obama in 2012, which was approximately 92 percent. Blacks made up 29 percent of the overall vote, Whites made up 66 percent of the vote and Latinos, 3 percent.
Those votes can largely be attributed to Black women says Melanie Campbell.
“Black women gave 97 percent of our vote for Doug Jones in Alabama,” says Campbell, president/CEO of the non-partisan National Coalition for Black Civic Participation and convener of its Black Women’s Roundtable.
“We’re not just turning out the vote. We’re not just showing up at the polls. We’re leading from a grassroots perspective on up. So we have to make sure we leverage that vote, leverage that leadership. That’s what we have to do as Black women. We’ve always been the backbone. But we don’t get the credit.”
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez also gave credit to Black women, saying they voted 98 percent for Jones.
Despite Moore’s refusal to give in, saying he is waiting on God, even President Donald Trump has conceded the race, sending a congratulatory Tweet after Jones victory speech. Trump fought vigorously for Moore, despite the numerous sexual misconduct allegations against him. Trump, who has denied similar allegations from women, said the Republicans needed Moore’s vote to maintain their razor thin, 52-vote margin in the Senate.
Meanwhile, it was clear during election returns that Black voters would be needed for the Jones victory and that without them, he could not have won. Former President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden recorded phone calls for Jones. Basketball star and native Alabamian Charles Barkley, a Black conservative, campaigned vigorously for him.
Jones is also known as the lawyer who successfully prosecuted the two Ku Klux Klan members behind the bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church that killed four Black girls in 1963.
By Hazel Trice Edney