This post was updated: Once 100% of the vote was tallied, figures were updated but the overall content remains unchanged.
Democrat candidate Doug Jones won the Alabama special election for U.S. Senate, but the victory might have be due to this one strange outlier.
With 100% of the votes counted, Jones bested Moore by 20,715 votes, but write-ins took 22,819 votes. The only known write-in was Lee Busby who entered the race with just 2 weeks to go before the vote. With no organization, no money and no name recognition, it would take a miracle for him to win – but was that his purpose? Could this have been a last-ditch effort by McConnel to ensure a Moore loss? Let’s look at the math.
If there had been no write-in, Moore would have won by 0.1% of the vote. We don’t yet know if all of the write-ins were for Busby or if they would have gone for Moore, but it seems certain that the write-in candidate(s) were a plus for Jones.
Moore was never a strong candidate. He struggled to win election as a judge with just 51.7% of the vote against a Democrat in a heavily Republican region. The sexual misconduct allegations did him no favors.
Could Moore have pulled out a win if not for the last-minute write-in? Perhaps, but there’s no way to know.