DENVER – Sen. Cory Gardner, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Tuesday that Alabama voters deemed Roy Moore unfit for election, but also that he hopes Democratic victor Doug Jones will vote with Republicans once in the U.S. Senate.
“Tonight’s results are clear – the people of Alabama deemed Roy Moore unfit to serve in the U.S. Senate,” Gardner said in a statement. “I hope Senator-elect Doug Jones will do the right thing and truly represent Alabama by choosing to vote with the Senate Republican Majority.”
Jones defeated Moore Tuesday in the special election for Alabama’s open Senate seat, which was vacated by now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions when he took that post at the onset of the Trump administration.
Gardner, as chair of the NRSC, has distanced the committee from Moore ever since multiple women came forth to allege that Moore made unwanted sexual advances toward them over the years, including some when they were teenagers.
Last Friday, with Tuesday’s election looming, Gardner said: “Roy Moore will never have the support of the senatorial committee. We will never endorse him. We won’t support him.”
He had previously said that the Senate should vote to expel Moore should he be elected “because he does not meet the ethical and moral requirements” of the Senate.
Gardner further said at the time the women speaking out against Moore “spoke with courage and truth, proving he is unfit to serve in the United States Senate and he should not run for office.” The NRSC also pulled out of a joint fundraising agreement with Moore's campaign.
The NRSC is in charge of fundraising and portioning out money to current and prospective Republican Senate candidates.
President Trump tweeted congratulations to Jones, and said Republicans would "have another shot" at the seat before long.
Roy Moore refused to concede the race Tuesday night, saying: "It's not over, and it's going to take some time....What we've got to do is wait on God and let this process play out." A recount would automatically kick in if the race is within half a percentage point. As of 9:40 p.m. MT, the margin was 1.5 percent.
Republicans are expected to gather on Capitol Hill Wednesday to determine the next steps in the Senate. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has hinted that he wanted Luther Strange, who has been filling Sessions seat before Tuesday’s election, to stay on through the new year.
But Democrats are expected to push to get Jones seated before the end of the year in order to have an extra vote while Congress works to pass a new spending resolution and possibly pass fixes for CHIP and DACA by January as well.
Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., who is also running for governor of Colorado next year, said that Jones’ win was “a win for the Senate” and “a win for our nation.” He said he believed many on Capitol Hill would be relieved voters picked Jones over Moore.
“Many senators on both sides of the aisle are relieved they won’t have to have an ethics investigation or perhaps even kick somebody out of the Senate because of illegal or inappropriate behavior...and the people of Alabama really rose to the occasion and transcended the usual partisan politics to look at values and character and chose the right person in Doug Jones,” he told Denver7 in a phone interview Tuesday night.
Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., was brief in his response to Jones’ Tuesday victory.
“Welcome to the Senate, Doug Jones,” he tweeted.