The unofficial results of the Special Senate Election posted on the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office tell the dramatic, surprising story by the numbers:
Doug Jones, 671,151 votes, 49.92 percent; Roy S. Moore, 650,436 votes, 48.38 percent.
Total Ballots Cast, 1,346,147. Voter turnout, 40.46 percent, far more than the 25 percent that Secretary of State John Merrill forecast for the one-race, special election at Christmastime.
Within those numbers are results that fashioned a formula for the Democratic candidate to come out ahead in a Deep Red state that voted overwhelmingly for President Donald Trump.
A big slice of Jones’ slim victory came from three bases where he won the vote: the urban counties of Jefferson, Mobile, Madison and Montgomery; the big university counties of Tuscaloosa and Lee; and the Black Belt counties of Bullock, Choctaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Perry, Pickens, Sumter and Wilcox. Together this coalition supplied 63 percent – more than 426,000 votes – of Jones’ total.
Jones carried 25 of Alabama’s 67 counties, which means much of the state geographically was Moore country. But voter turnout played a part. It was higher than the state overall in Jefferson County and in 10 of the Black Belt counties.
The numbers also show hurdles that Jones did not clear. Moore won in Shelby and St. Clair counties, adjacent to Jefferson County and part of the Birmingham metropolitan area, and in Baldwin County, where many residents are commuters to Mobile.
There were few battleground counties. The closest race was in Monroe County, where it was Moore, 49.9 percent, and Jones, 49.45 percent. But there were tight races in Butler County — Jones, 51.02 percent, to Moore, 48.26 percent; Pike County — Moore, 50.41 percent, to Jones, 48.41 percent; and Talladega County — Jones, 50.12 percent, to Moore, 48.76 percent.