House passes compromise $1.3 trillion budget bill
The U.S. House has easily approved a bipartisan $1.3 trillion measure handing huge spending increases to defense programs and domestic initiatives ranging from road-building to biomedical research.
After Democrat Doug Jones overcame great odds, he pulled off what appears to be a major upset against Republican Roy Moore Tuesday night after the ballots of the tight Alabama Senate special election were tallied, but the “Ten Commandments” judge is not conceding defeat – yet.
"We realize that when the vote is this close that it's not over," Moore told his supporters in a late Tuesday night speech at his campaign headquarters in Montgomery, Alabama, according to Newsmax. "We've still got to go by the rules about this recount provision, and the secretary of state has explained it to us. We're expecting that the press will go up there and talk to them to find out what the situation is. We also know that God is in control.”
Moore’s campaign manager, Rich Hobson, addressed a stunned crowd of fans in Montgomery over the nail-biting results and insisted that it’s not over until it’s over.
"Some people are calling it," Hobson admitted before reigniting hope, according to Newsmax. "We are not calling it."
The effort to make sure everything is fair and square was also indicated by Secretary of State John Merrill, who announced that Tuesday night’s results would be counted once again – as required by state law – next Tuesday.
Merrill also stressed that the official results of the Senate race would not be officially certified until after Christmas, or possibly even next year – sometime between December 26 and January 3. But he also noted that either candidate can fund a recount effort.
"There's always a chance of a recount, because any candidate can ask for a recount," Merrill explained to CNN. "If they pay for it, they can receive a recount."
But Jones – the first Democrat to win an election to the Senate in predominantly conservative Alabama in a quarter century – is already looking past the election and truly believes he won the hearts of Alabamans after the smear campaign launched against his Republican opponent.
"We have come so far, and the people of Alabama have spoken," Jones told his supporters late Tuesday night in Birmingham, Alabama, according to Fox News.
Mo Brooks – a better candidate?
Chad Groening (OneNewsNow.com)
Dr. Charles Dunn, professor emeritus of government at Clemson University, says it's obvious Alabama Republicans nominated the wrong candidate. Roy Moore's defeat, he argues, can be traced back to the primary battle between Mo Brooks, Luther Strange, and Moore.
"Mo Brooks would have won going away – so they nominated the wrong candidate," Dunn tells OneNewsNow. "Roy Moore very much tarnished as a candidate. Strange, of course, was tarnished because he'd alienated some key people in the Republican Party. But Mo Brooks was very highly respected among essentially all wings of the Republican Party and had a very good record in the U.S. House of Representatives."
And Dunn points out that Brooks may have another chance in 2020 when Jones must face re-election.
"If history is the best predictor of the future, [Jones] is a short-term, two-year senator," he predicts. "The only way that he can survive is if he begins to vote with Republicans in support of traditional values of the citizens of Alabama. If he does not do that, his survival will be highly suspect."
Dunn admits that to do that Jones would have to go against the iron rod that Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wields on Democratic members of the Senate.
Too close to call?
After the lead changed hands back-and-forth Tuesday night, the significance of write-in votes is now drawing national attention, as CNN reported that 22,783 of them were turned in. Jones won by approximately 20,000 votes, according to Townhall, which indicated that an overturned election is not likely at this time.
When 100 percent of the precincts reported their results, the final tally put Jones at 49.9 percent and Moore at 48.4 percent, and even though a mandatory recount is only allowed if a candidate wins by a half percent or less under Alabama law, Moore’s campaign chairman Bill Armstead said a recount is in order late Tuesday.
Despite the resistance in Moore’s camp, other Republicans, including President Donald Trump – who won 62 percent of Alabamans’ votes in the 2016 election – appeared to concede defeat and congratulated Jones on his win … until next time, at least. But he did bring up the write-in vote issue, which could still come into play.
“Congratulation to Doug Jones on a hard-fought victory,” Trump tweeted late Tuesday. “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!”
Before the polls opened, Trump called Jones a liberal “puppet” manipulated by chief Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.
“Doug Jones is Pro-Abortion, weak on Crime, Military and Illegal Immigration, Bad for Gun Owners and Veterans and against the WALL,” Trump tweeted during Moore’s Senate campaign.
But after the votes were cast and counted, Trump reminded his voters why he endorsed Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) instead of Moore in the Republican primary months earlier.
“The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election,” Trump tweeted, according to Breitbart. “I was right!”
Trump then gave Moore credit for fighting hard with all of the opposition feverishly against him – by both parties.
“Roy worked hard, but the deck was stacked against him!” the president exclaimed in a following tweet.
Playing and winning with sexual misconduct claims and race card
Along with capitalizing on the Republican establishment and Democratic sexual misconduct allegations of Moore’s conduct some 40 years ago – many of which have already proven to be false – Jones added another facet to the smear campaign against his conservative rival, who he attempted to portray as a racist in the deep South.
Jones – whose claim to fame is his work as a prosecuting attorney who went against two Ku Klux Klan (KKK) members for their 1966 bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church – put out campaign ads that portrayed himself as a champion of blacks, while coloring Moore as looking to perpetuate racism in the state.
Above and beyond the allegations that Moore pursued romantic relationships in his 30s with teenage girls that compromised his candidacy – with a Fox News poll showing that 51 percent of voters on Tuesday believed the claims that he denied – the fabricated racial attack appeared to be icing on the cake to defeat the beleaguered Republican.
Even though Jones attempted to ignite racial tensions by making his campaign to appear to be a civil rights crusade fighting against racism that he alleged was abetted by Moore, the sexual misconduct allegations could have been the straw that broke the camel’s back in the close Senate race, as the Fox News Voter Analysis indicated that 59 percent of voters believed that Jones has strong moral character – while 57 percent of the voters think that Moore does not exude moral character.
The loss greatly compromises the Republican’s foothold in the Senate and Trump’s ability to implement his conservative agenda in the courts.
“The dramatic Democratic win cuts the GOP’s Senate majority from 52 to 51 – further dimming Republican hopes of enacting major legislation backed by President Trump,” Fox News’ Alex Papas informed.
Even though Jones will take his seat in Congress in January, he will not serve a full term as he takes over Attorney General Jeff Session’s position. In fact, he will only serve about half of the full six-year term, which will end in 2020.
Editor's note: Comments from Charles Dunn added after story was originally posted.
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