- Joe Raedle/Getty Images
- Former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore told supporters on Friday that the race is “not over.”
- He is collecting donations to investigate incidents of voter fraud.
- Despite calls from various GOP leaders, including President Donald Trump, to concede the race to his Democratic opponent Doug Jones, Moore remains defiant.
Former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore asked supporters on Friday for donations towards an “election integrity fund” that would be used to investigate and submit cases of voter fraud and other irregularities, the Associated Press reported.
“I also wanted to let you know that this battle is NOT OVER!” he said in a fundraising email to supporters. “My campaign team is busy collecting numerous reported cases of voter fraud and irregularities for the Secretary of State’s office.”
Moore has remained defiant since Tuesday’s election, refusing to concede in hopes that remaining write-in, overseas military, and provisional ballots that remain to be counted eventually narrow Jones’ margin of victory enough to trigger an automatic recount.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, the state’s chief elections officer, said that such a recount would be unlikely.
“I know a lot of people would say it’s never over until it’s over, but the margin of victory for Doug Jones at this particular time looks like a very difficult amount of votes to overcome as the remaining votes that are out there to be counted next week begin to be considered at the local level,” Merrill told CNN on Wednesday.
Jones currently leads Moore by a 1.5% margin. If, after all the votes have been counted and certified, that gap narrows to less than 0.5%, an automatic recount provision would kick in. Merrill’s office will certify the results by January 3 at the latest.
A defiant Moore clings on
Moore’s fundraising email on Friday was the third time he rebuffed calls, including from President Donald Trump, to concede.
Hours after Jones was declared the winner, Moore insisted the race was not yet over.
“Realize when the vote is this close, it’s not over,” Moore told supporters in a speech. “And we still got to go by the rules about this recount provision … It’s not over, and it’s going to take some time.”
- Roy Moore via YouTube
Then a day later, Moore released a YouTube video in which he again refused to concede, saying he would wait until all the votes were counted.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a fellow Republican and former Republican presidential candidate, criticized Moore’s refusal to step aside.
“Roy Moore won’t concede; says will wait on God to speak,” Huckabee tweeted. “God wasn’t registered to vote in AL but the ppl who voted did speak and it wasn’t close enough for recount. In elections everyone does NOT get a trophy. I know first hand but it’s best to exit with class.”
Moore maintained a strong lead over Jones in deep-red Alabama until his campaign was crippled by a series of sexual misconduct allegations against him. At least eight women have accused Moore of pursuing relationships with them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s, or of making unwanted sexual advances towards them.
One woman, Leigh Corfman, said she was 14 when Moore molested her. Another accuser, Beverly Young Nelson, accused Moore of attempting to sexually assault her when she was working as a waitress at age 16.
Moore has consistently denied the allegations against him, and he commanded strong support from Alabama’s Republican establishment leading up to Tuesday’s special election. He also earned several endorsements from Trump. His support among congressional Republicans, however, cratered after the allegations came out, and several prominent lawmakers called on him to exit the race, or suggested Moore would be removed from the Senate if he were elected.
Many conservatives, like Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, expressed relief and celebrated when Jones clinched the Senate seat following the contentious race.
After he was projected as the winner, Jones delivered an emotional speech to supporters and said he was “truly overwhelmed.”
“I’ve been waiting all my life and I just don’t know what the hell to say,” Jones said.
“I’ve said it before. Alabama has been at a crossroads. We have been at crossroads in the past. And unfortunately, we have usually taken the wrong fork,” he added. “Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, you took the right road.”