Doug Jones, the new senator-elect from Alabama, said Wednesday that President Donald Trump had invited him to visit the White House following his victory over Republican nominee Roy Moore.
“He congratulated me on the race we won,” Jones said while addressing reporters in Birmingham for the first time since delivering his victory speech the night prior. “He congratulated me and my staff on the way we handled this campaign and went forward. And we talked about finding that common ground to work together.”
He added: “He invited me over to the White House to visit as soon as I get up there. Very nice phone call, very pleasant phone call, and I appreciated him very much reaching out to me.”
Jones added that Sen. Luther Strange, the appointed incumbent whose seat Jones will fill, was among the first to call and congratulate him on his upset victory over Moore in Tuesday's special election. Jones became the first Democrat from Alabama to be elected to the U.S. Senate in over two decades.
The senator-elect said the calls from both Strange and Trump were “very gracious,” despite Strange’s having run opposite Moore in the Republican primary and Trump’s having endorsed both of Jones’ Republican opponents on the campaign trail.
“I very much appreciated it,” Jones said of his conversation with the president. After The Associated Press declared Jones’ victory Tuesday night, Trump praised his “hard fought victory” on social media.
But Jones said he had yet to receive any such call from Moore.
Asked whether he believed the Republican should concede the race, Jones declined to issue a call. “I’m going to leave that to him,” he said.
But the senator-elect reiterated that in his eyes the election results were conclusive.
“I think that most people, including the president, believe the people have spoken,” he said.
Moore also declined to concede defeat during an election-night event in Alabama, even after the race had been called in Jones’ favor.
“Realize when the vote is this close, that it’s not over," Moore said shortly after Jones delivered a victory speech at his own rally.
Alabama state law calls for a vote recount if an election is won by a margin of 0.5 percent or less, but unofficial results had Jones up by roughly 1.5 percent. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told CNN he thought it was “highly unlikely” that Jones’ victory would not be officially certified by the state.
“The people of Alabama have spoken tonight,” Merrill said. (Politico)