President Donald Trump tweeted congratulations to Democrat Doug Jones on his stunning victory in Tuesday night's Alabama Senate race, adding Republicans would soon have a shot at winning the seat back.
Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore to become the first Democrat to win a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama since 1992. Jones successfully turned out large numbers of African American voters and ran up the vote in urban areas to overcome Moore's advantage in rural parts of the state.
The loss is a particularly painful one for the White House, given Trump's endorsement of Moore.
"Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard fought victory," Trump wrote. "The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win. The people of Alabama are great, and the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never ends!"
Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard fought victory. The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win. The people of Alabama are great, and the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never ends!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2017
Indeed, more than 22,000 Alabama voters wrote in a choice other than Moore or Jones, and Jones' margin of victory was at a little more than 10,000 votes, according to CNN, with 99 percent of precincts reporting.
Moore defeated incumbent Sen. Luther Strange (R., Ala.) in the GOP primary for the seat in September. Strange had been appointed to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Trump backed Strange in the primary, giving him the distinction of backing the losing candidate in both the primary and the special election race. His former White House strategist Steve Bannon backed Moore's campaign and framed his candidacy as a rebuke to the Republican establishment.
Multiple accusations of past sexual misconduct surfaced against Moore in the last month of the race, leading to some Republicans to call for Moore to drop out. He denied all the allegations, which included that he sexually touched a 14-year-old when he was 32.
The president ultimately offered a full-throated endorsement of Moore but it was not enough to carry him to victory in a state Trump won by 28 points over Hillary Clinton in 2016.