The outcome of a senate race in the U.S. state of Alabama may spell trouble for President Donald Trump and for the Republican Party. Roy Moore lost his bid for a seat in Washington on Tuesday, despite a vocal endorsement from Trump. So what does this mean for the President’s agenda?
CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg reports.
Alabama Judge Roy Moore rode in to the polling station on Tuesday. But hours later, voters in one of America’s most conservative states told the Republican senate hopeful to get off his high horse.
Moore was once believed to be a shoe-in. But in recent months, he faced accusations of sexual misconduct, including allegations that he had pursued underage teen girls. Moore denied it.
Republicans largely tried to distance themselves – and the party – from Moore. But a defiant President Trump vocally endorsed him over the Democrat Doug Jones in a nail-biting state race watched across the country.
Jones ultimately prevailed in a vote many viewed as a referendum on Trump’s agenda and influence.
The outcome may complicate things for the President. With the loss, Republicans will soon hold a slim, unstable majority in the U.S. Senate – just 51 to 49. On a few occasions this year already, two centrist Republicans voted with Democrats against White House-backed measures.
Trump wants lawmakers to quickly pass his ambitious tax plan. On Wednesday, Republicans in the House and Senate agreed to a compromise version. But the top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, pledged to block any such vote until Jones was seated.
“Doug Jones will be the duly elected senator from the state of Alabama. The governor didn’t appoint him. He won an election. It would be wrong for Senate Republicans to jam through this tax bill without giving the newly-elected senator from Alabama the opportunity to cast his vote,” Schumer said.
Alabama’s secretary of state has already said he won’t certify the election results before Christmas. Jones can’t be sworn-in before that, which means that Republicans have a small window to press ahead.
Trump on Wednesday urged them to act quickly. Both Trump and the Republicans need a legislative win in 2017 if they hope to fend off Democrats in next year’s midterm elections.
The Alabama vote was undoubtedly a big setback for them. Republicans argue that Moore was a one-off candidate and the vote was isolated. Democrats, however, believe that the tide is changing in their favor, and they hope to ride it all the way to the ballot box in 2018.