Democrat Doug Jones has won a special election for the US Senate seat from Alabama tonight. The Associated Press called the race for Jones at 10:23 PM ET, a little more than two hours after the polls closed in Alabama.

Jones defeated controversial Judge Roy Moore for the seat vacated by former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. Sessions vacated the seat after being confirmed as US Attorney General in the Trump administration.

Former Alabama governor Robert Bentley had originally appointed former Alabama attorney general Luther Strange to the seat earlier this year. But Moore defeated Strange in a primary run-off in September to become the Republican nominee in the general.

Controversy

Controversy had swirled around Moore for the last month after multiple women came forward [VIDEO] alleging that Moore initiated inappropriate relationships with them back in the late 1970s and early 1980s when they were teenagers and he was in his early to mid-30s. One of the alleged victims was 14 years old at the time. Moore had denied the allegations.

Moore is no stranger to controversy, having been previously removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for defying court orders to remove a monument dedicated to The Ten Commandments from the Alabama State Judicial Building’s central rotunda.

After being reelected to the Alabama Supreme Court years later, he was suspended for issuing an order to probate judges and their employees ordering them to not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of federal court rulings.

Rather than serve his suspension, Moore resigned from the Court in February of this year to run for the state’s open Senate seat.

National Bellwether

The race garnered national interest after Moore upset Luther Strange in the primary in September. Moore was backed by former top White House adviser Steve Bannon. Strange was the choice of the Republican establishment in Washington, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who made the race in Alabama a top priority. The Senate Leadership Fund, run by close allies of McConnell, poured $10 million into the effort to defeat Moore and promote Strange.

Bannon was successful in painting the race as a battle between the establishment and grassroots Republicans heading into the 2018 midterm elections. Bannon had previously vowed to support primary challengers to every incumbent Republican senator running for reelection. The special election in Alabama was seen as the first battle in the war that Bannon pledged to wage against establishment Republicans for failing to, as he saw it, adequately support President Trump’s agenda during his first year in office.

McConnell and other Senate Republicans had vowed to subject Moore to an ethics investigation should he have won the seat. A move that McConnell expressed confidence would still take place as recently as this afternoon.