It’s been 10 days and Republican Roy Moore has yet to concede in Alabama’s special Senate race, even as election officials move toward certifying Democrat Doug Jones’ victory in the days ahead.
As vote tallies from 100% of the state’s precincts show Alabamians have clearly selected Jones, Moore has offered no indication that he plans to concede the race.
On Friday, all of Alabama’s 67 counties were required to officially file their election results to the secretary of state’s office. In a statement, Secretary of State John H. Merrill said his office plans to officially certify the election on Dec. 28.
Also Friday, some of the names left on thousands of write-in ballots began to emerge. Some names are surprising. Who knew SpongeBob SquarePants had a constituency?
Moore’s campaign did not respond immediately to a request for comment about any plans to concede.
Since the Dec. 12 special election, Moore, a former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who faced a barrage of sexual misconduct allegations during the campaign, has remained defiant.
In a short video thanking his supporters, Moore declared that “immorality sweeps our land,” and railed against abortion and same-sex marriage and said, “Abortion, sodomy and materialism have taken the place of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
“We are indeed in a struggle to preserve our republic, our civilization, and our religion and to set free a suffering humanity. And the battle rages on,” he said in the four-minute video posted to YouTube. “Today, we no longer recognize the universal truth that God is the author of our life and liberty.”
Jones, a former U.S. attorney, said it’s time for the state to come together. He’s the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Alabama in a quarter-century.
“I say it's time to move on. Alabama has spoken,” Jones said in an interview on CNN this week, adding that “now it's time to heal.”
In the special contest to fill the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, who is now U.S. attorney general, Jones bested Moore by about 20,700 votes.
Nearly 22,800 Alabamians choose neither candidate and wrote in their choice, which, in turn, hurt Moore’s candidacy.
Republican Richard Shelby, Alabama’s senior senator, did not endorse Moore and announced that he cast a write-in ballot for a “distinguished” candidate. He didn’t explicitly tell voters to cast write-ins, but his ballot offered Republicans a way to vote without supporting the Democrat.
Nick Saban, the University of Alabama head football coach, received 264 write-in votes, according to a report from AL.com.
In several counties, Mickey Mouse and SpongeBob SquarePants appeared on ballots. Phil Robertson, star of the television series “Duck Dynasty,” received votes in at least 10 counties. Another popular choice was simply the word “anybody.”
But the candidates to receive the most write-ins were mostly seasoned politicians and public figures.
Sen. Luther Strange, who lost to Moore in the Republican primary, netted 5,822 write-in votes, according to AL.com. Lee Busby, a retired Marine who launched his write-in campaign as Moore’s sexual misconduct allegations emerged, raked in nearly 3,600 votes.