Contrary to expectation, U.S. President Donald Trump has urged his party member Roy Moore to concede defeat in the Alabama Senate race he lost to Democrat Doug Jones on Tuesday following a bruising campaign.
Trump told reporters at the White House, “I think he should concede. I want to support the person running. We need the seat. We’d like to have the seat.”
The U.S. president backed the controversial Moore, who was dogged by allegations that he made sexual advances on girls as young as 14 in the late 1970s, when he was a local prosecutor.
He (Trump), however, had opposed Moore in a primary race against Luther Strange, and said after the election he knew all along Moore could not win.
The Alabama election was held to finish the unexpired term of Jeff Sessions, Trump’s attorney general.
On election night, Moore said he expected the race to go to a recount. But he lost by 20,715 votes, which was a full percentage point over the 0.5 per cent threshold under which a recount would be automatic.
“We have not received the final count to include military and provisional ballots.
“This has been a very close race, and we are awaiting certification by the secretary of state,” Moore said.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has said that the election will be certified Dec. 28.