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Doug Jones (D-AL) won Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s Senate seat on Tuesday, defeating Roy Moore (R) in a stunning victory for Democrats in Alabama and across the country. Jones, who had been the underdog in a race to represent a deeply conservative state, pulled ahead in recent weeks following allegations that Roy Moore, former chief justice of Alabama, had pursued teenage girls when he was a district attorney in his 30s.

Moore had defeated sitting Senator Luther Strange (R-AL) in the primary election earlier this year. Strange was appointed by former Alabama Governor Robert Bentley in February after President Donald Trump appointed Sessions to the Attorney General post. Strange had had the backing of Republican leaders such as President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), but former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon mobilized a populist base around Moore to clinch the Republican nomination.

Jones is best known as the attorney general who successfully prosecuted members of the KKK involved in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963, nearly 40 years after the bombing. President Donald Trump had remained ambiguous about his support for Moore, but ultimately endorsed him on Monday. Moore has not yet conceded the race and said in a video released on Wednesday that he is waiting for the ballots to be certified. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has said it is “highly unlikely” that Doug Jones would not be certified as the winner of the election.


Meanwhile, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton (D) announced Wednesday that he will appoint Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith (D) to fill the Senate seat vacated by Senator Al Franken (D-MN), who will resign in the coming days after allegations of sexual harassment. Franken’s announcement on the Senate floor was laced with disappointment and anger, and he called it “the worst day of my political life.” Franken, first elected to the Senate by a narrow margin in 2008, had risen in prominence as a liberal voice and, more recently, had taken on a key role in questioning President Trump’s Cabinet appointees.

It is unclear when the two new senators will be sworn in, but it is unlikely that they will take office before Republicans hope to bring their tax bill to a vote.  House and Senate leaders came to an agreement Wednesday on a final bill, which includes a slightly higher corporate tax rate of 21 percent, rather than the 20 percent rate included in the House and Senate versions of the bill; dropping the top tax rate for individuals from 37 percent to 36.9 percent; and repealing the individual mandate enumerated in the Affordable Care Act.


Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ, 8th) resigned from the House on Friday, joining an ever-lengthening string of congressmen who have stepped down from office due to reports of sexual misconduct. Former female staffers had reported that Franks had approached them about acting as potential surrogates for him and his wife. Another report included Rep. Franks’s offer of $5 million to an aide to act as a surrogate.

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