Chairman of the Democratic National Committee Tom Perez said late Tuesday night that Alabama Senator-elect Doug Jones would not be required to toe the party line.
Jones won a narrow victory over Republican Roy Moore, who faced sexual misconduct allegations a month before the election. MSNBC host Chris Matthews pointed out that Jones had to overcome concerns from Alabama voters about his pro-choice views, which he softened over the course of the campaign.
"Your candidate down here won and I’m actually very happy about it of course, but Doug Jones was pretty far out there in the beginning on abortion rights, saying it was okay with him to be pro-choice right to the end of term and then he pulled that back," Matthews told Perez.
Matthews then asked if there would "be enough flexibility in the Democratic Party" to allow Democrats to take something less than Jones' original "abortion-to-the-end approach." Perez answered that Jones would be independent and focus on doing what is best for the people of Alabama, not on following the Democratic Party.
"I’ve known Doug for almost 20 years–we worked in the Clinton Justice Department together–and what I love about Doug is he’s an independent voice and he always will be," Perez said.
"I’m confident there are going to be times when Doug does and says things that other Democrats agree with, and I’m confident there are going to be times that he says things that we may not agree with," Perez added. "I know that his North Star is always going to be what works best for Alabamans. That’s why he was elected tonight."
Perez praised Jones for campaigning on so-called kitchen table issues like education, children’s health insurance, and jobs.
"That’s what Doug Jones is about: hashtag kitchen table," Perez said.