Doug Jones says win is 'new chapter' for state

Doug Jones declared winner of Senate seat as Roy Moore fights

Doug Jones says win is 'new chapter' for state

Alabama officials on Thursday certified Democrat Doug Jones the victor of the state's U.S. Senate race, after a state judge denied a legal challenge by Republican Roy Moore, whose campaign was derailed by accusations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls.

In a statement released Wednesday by the Moore campaign, the candidate insisted that the result should not be certified until alleged "election fraud" is investigated. But even before the judge had dismissed the case and Jones's victory was certified, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said the complaint would have no impact on the election's result.

Mr Moore's lawsuit alleges that there were voting irregularities in 20 precincts and calls for a fraud investigation and a new election.

In a statement following his victory's certification on Thursday, Jones said he is "looking forward to going to work for the people of Alabama in the new year".

Jones won 49.97 percent of the vote compared to Moore's 48.34 percent, a margin of almost 22,000 votes out of 1.35 million cast, officials said - a record for a special election.

Jones will now be sworn in early next month, having been the first Democrat to win a Senate seat in Alabama since 1992.

During an interview with CNN, Merrill, who voted for Moore, outlined some of the voter fraud claims his office has had to deal with in the weeks that followed Jones's surprise victory and Moore's refusal to concede the race.

Official election results show that Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore by 21,924 votes.

After the U.S. Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal, Moore tried to block Alabama judges from issuing same-sex marriage licenses in the state right before they were set to begin issuing them.

With Jones' upset victory in Alabama confirmed, the Republican party of President Donald Trump now holds 51 seats in the Senate and the Democrats have 49 - the slimmest of majorities.

Papers launching the case were filed about 14 hours before Thursday's meeting of a state canvassing board to officially declare Mr Jones the victor of the December 12 special election. "It's time to move on".

He will fill the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when Sessions became USA attorney general in the Donald Trump administration early this year. "The governor, Kay Ivey, our attorney general Steve Marshall and I will meet in the office of the secretary state, in the executive office, and we will sign the documents certifying him as the senator for the state of Alabama". Moore denied the accusations and said in the lawsuit that he had passed a polygraph test to prove they are false. He said Moore's complaint might just be a way for him to fundraise and throw "red meat to his loyal supporters".

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