Today is election day across Alabama as two candidates fight to become Alabama’s next United States Senator, filling a vacancy in the Senate arising from the resignation on of Jeff Sessions, to serve as U.S. Attorney General.
The winner of this election will fill the seat for the remainder of Sessions‘term, due to end on January 3, 2021.
Back on February 9, then Governor Robert Bentley named Luther Strange, the Attorney General of Alabama, to fill the vacancy until a special election takes place.
Although he had the power to schedule an election in 2017, Bentley decided that a special election was to take place on November 6, 2018, the date of the 2018 general election. However, on April 18, 2017, Bentley‘s successor, Kay Ivey, called the special election for December 12, 2017, scheduling the primary for August 15, 2017, and the primary runoff for September 26.
Doug Jones, a former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, won the Democratic primary, while Roy Moore, a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama won the Republican primary, defeating incumbent Luther Strange in the primary runoff. In late November, Retired Marine Col. Lee Busby launched a write-in campaign.
In mid-November, multiple women alleged that Moore had made unwanted advances or sexual assaults on them when he was in his early thirties and they were in their teens (the youngest was 14 at the time). As a result of these allegations, many national Republican leaders and office holders called for Moore to withdraw from the special election or withdrew their endorsements of him. However, many Alabama Republicans reaffirmed their support of him.
At the time of the revelations, it was too late to remove his name from the ballot. Many Republican leaders proposed shifting their support to a write-in candidate such as Strange. Moore has stated that he never engaged in sexual misconduct, although he has not denied that he approached or dated teenagers over the age of 16 while he was in his 30s. Sixteen is the legal age of consent in Alabama.
The polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. and WEIS Radio News will provide complete coverage of election results throughout the evening.