Democrat Doug Jones wins Alabama Senate seat

(Photo Credit: Doug Jones for Senate / MGN)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - The Latest on Alabama's U.S. Senate election (all times local):

9:24 p.m. CST

Democrat Doug Jones has won election to the U.S. Senate from Alabama, dealing a political blow to President Donald Trump.

Jones has defeated Republican Roy Moore, a one-time GOP pariah who was embraced by the Republican Party and the president even after facing allegations of sexual impropriety.

An attorney and former prosecutor, Jones rallied voters on a message of moving past the Moore controversies. He was buoyed by an influx of national Democratic cash and endorsements.

Jones' victory is set to narrow the slim Republican majority over Democrats in the Senate to 51-49. His win in the Republican stronghold energizes the Democratic Party as it looks to build on anti-Trump sentiment to mount a challenge next year to Republican control of Congress.
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8:40 p.m.

Republican Roy Moore has briefly greeted an optimistic crowd at his election night party in Montgomery, Alabama.

Moore shook hands with supporters after they chanted, "Judge Roy Moore." He then left to watch returns in another room.

His campaign manager told the crowd that Moore would soon have the new title of senator.

With about half the vote counted, the Alabama Senate race between Moore and Democrat Doug Jones is too close to call.

Moore is looking for support in rural areas and party loyalty from Republicans to carry him to victory.

Jones is attempting to become the first Alabama Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate in 25 years.

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7:10 p.m.

Republican Roy Moore's supporters are expressing optimism as polls close in Alabama.

Supporters filed into Moore's election night party in Montgomery shortly before polls closed at 7 p.m.

"Watch party? It's a victory party," Moore campaign manager Rich Hobson told the crowd.

Becky Gerritson, the leader of a nearby tea party group, says sexual misconduct allegations against Moore have caused his supporters to rally around him harder.

"We're seeing his supporters digging in and they're pumped up," Gerritson said.

Reporters at Moore's election night party were kept behind a barricade in the back of the ballroom.

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7 p.m.

Polls are closed in Alabama in the race to fill the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

At time of national reckoning over long-suppressed misconduct by powerful men, the choice between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones has taken on outsized significance. Moore has faced allegations of sexual misconduct with teenagers, dividing the GOP and giving Democrats hope of picking up a seat in a reliably red state.

President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee broke with top congressional leaders in standing by Moore despite the accusations, wagering that maintaining the seat in the Republican stronghold was of paramount importance.

Democrats are hoping to break their 0-5 streak in special elections for Republican-held seats in 2017, and looking for momentum heading into the 2018 midterm elections.

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4:30 p.m.

Alabama Republican Roy Moore's campaign says The Washington Post is not being let into his election night gathering in Montgomery.

The Post first reported the allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore.

Moore campaign spokeswoman Hannah Ford confirmed the newspaper is not being granted press credentials. The campaign told the newspaper it had reviewed its request and was denying them.

Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones in Tuesday's election for a U.S. Senate seat.

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3:45 p.m.

There are signs of heightened security at Republican Roy Moore's election night gathering in the Alabama race for U.S. Senate.

Men in SWAT uniforms videoed the exterior of the building where Moore's party is being held in Montgomery.

Campaign spokeswoman Hannah Ford said the campaign had previously received threats.

Earlier Tuesday, a Department of Homeland Security official said the agency is keeping an eye on the election.

The agency's top infrastructure and cybersecurity official said a federal protective security adviser and a cybersecurity adviser are in Montgomery and working "side by side" with state government officials in case issues arise.

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2 p.m.

The Department of Homeland Security is keeping its eye on Alabama's special U.S. Senate election.

The agency's top infrastructure and cybersecurity official says a federal protective security adviser and a cybersecurity adviser are in the capital city of Montgomery and working "side by side" with state government officials in case issues arise.

Christopher Krebs says he's not aware of any specific threats. But he says DHS has been working with the state "for quite some time" to prepare for any issues.

It's part of a larger effort to better share threat information and provide technical support after DHS concluded Russian government hackers targeted election systems in 21 states last year.

Krebs says: "We learned our lessons last year."

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1:55 p.m.

Voter turnout appears heavier than expected in one of Alabama's most reliably Republican counties in the U.S. Senate election, and officials say they're not just seeing the usual GOP crowd.

Shelby County Probate Judge Jim Fuhrmeister says turnout appears higher than normal among young people and black voters in Tuesday's balloting. That could help Democrat Doug Jones against Republican Roy Moore.

Democrats have a table outside one of the county's largest voting precincts in Helena, and volunteers from the Jones campaign are canvassing neighborhoods in normally Republican areas.

Fuhrmeister says he isn't predicting a Democratic win, but he expects the party to see some results for its efforts.

Shelby County, just south of Birmingham, is one of Alabama's most affluent counties.

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11:50 a.m.

Republican candidate Roy Moore rode his horse to the polls as he's done in past elections to cast his ballot in the U.S. Senate race.

Moore was accompanied by his wife Kayla Moore, also on horseback, as he voted at a rural fire station in the northeast Alabama community of Gallant on Tuesday.

Dozens of members of the media surrounded the couple, making it difficult for them to get through on their horses.

Moore spoke briefly to reporters, talking in generalities and not discussing allegations that he sexually molested teenage girls decades ago.

Moore expressed confidence that he will win.

He also said that after the election will be the time to discuss whether he's allowed to take a seat in the Senate.

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11:15 a.m.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he cast an absentee ballot in Tuesday's special Senate election in Alabama but declined to specify his choice, saying he "valued the sanctity of the ballot."

At a Tuesday news conference in Baltimore on gang violence and immigration, Sessions said Alabama residents are "good and decent and wonderful" people. He said he's confident they will make the right decision.

Alabama voters are deciding between Republican Roy Moore, former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, and Democrat Doug Jones, a lawyer who prosecuted two Ku Klux Klansmen who killed four black girls in a 1963 church bombing.

Multiple women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct with teen girls when he was in his 30s. Moore denies the accusations.

The winner of Tuesday's election will take the seat previously held by Sessions.

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8:55 a.m.

Democratic nominee Doug Jones was met by cheering supporters as he cast his ballot in Alabama's U.S. Senate race.

Jones smiled and waved as he arrived at his voting precinct in the wealthy Birmingham suburb of Mountain Brook on Tuesday.

Poll workers at the church where he voted complained that so many news reporters were on hand that voters were having a hard time parking.

Jones says he feels good about the campaign he's run and he doesn't think Republican Roy Moore is going to win.

Jones said, "This is an important time in Alabama's history, and we feel very confident where we are and how this is going to turn out."

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8:25 a.m.

Alabama's top election official estimates that turnout for the hotly contested U.S. Senate election now underway will likely be around 18 to 20 percent of registered voters.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill tells The Associated Press there's also a chance that turnout for the special election could be as high as 25 percent.

Voting places opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday and will remain open until 7 p.m.

Cool temperatures were common across Alabama when voting began and the state is expected to see dry weather all day during voting.

Republican Roy Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones in Tuesday's election.

Multiple women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct with teenage girls when he was in his 30s. Moore is now 70 and denies the charges.

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7:45 a.m.

More than two dozen people stood in line in the chilly morning air at Legion Field, a predominantly black precinct in Birmingham, after polls opened at 7 a.m.

Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones have both reached out to minority voters during their contentious campaign for a U.S. Senate seat.

Political observers believe that Jones needs heavy turnout among African-American voters in order to win on Tuesday.

The Legion Field precinct is in a stadium office, where blue-tinted posters of local college football players and cheerleaders lined one of the walls. About 20 Doug Jones campaign signs were planted in the ground near the parking lot where voters were driving in to vote. There were no Roy Moore signs.

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7 a.m.

Polls have opened across Alabama in the state's closely watched U.S. Senate election, which has drawn national attention.

Voting places opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday and will remain open until 7 p.m.

Cool temperatures were common across Alabama shortly before voting began and the state is expected to see dry weather all day during Tuesday's voting.

Republican Roy Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones in Tuesday's election.

Multiple women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct with teen girls when he was in his 30s. Moore is now 70 and denies the charges.

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2:45 a.m.

An internationally watched Senate election is down to Alabama voters.

The controversies surrounding Republican Roy Moore give Democrat Doug Jones an opening in the GOP-dominated state. Polls open Tuesday morning.

Multiple women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct with teen girls when he was in his 30s. Moore is now 70 and denies the charges. He's telling voters they know his character already.

Jones is saying decency must prevail. He's urging Alabama voters to see the race as a crossroads with an opportunity to avoid repeating past mistakes that harm the state's image.

No Democrat has won an Alabama Senate seat since 1992. That was Sen. Richard Shelby. He's now a Republican who says he didn't vote for Moore.

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