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Roy Moore refuses to concede, remains possible candidate for governor

It's been a week since Alabama’s new U.S. Senator-elect Doug Jones was ushered into office by a combination of enthusiastic Democrats and a significant number of Republicans troubled by the recent allegations of sexual assault against Republican nominee Roy Moore.

Moore, who lost to Jones by less than 21,000 votes, is still refusing to concede his loss. Most of the GOP hierarchy has encouraged him to concede, including President Trump, who enthusiastically cheered him on in the final weeks leading up to the special election. Trump had previously endorsed Moore’s primary opponent, temporary appointee Luther Strange (R-AL), but in typical Trump fashion, he anointed Moore, warts and all, after Strange’s bruising defeat.

Meanwhile, Jones will in all likelihood take the oath of office in the first week of the new year. According to Secretary of State John Merrill, the final results will be certified no earlier than December 26 and no later than January 3. Congress returns from the holiday break January 3.

Moore has remained steadfast in his refusal to concede, even with no conceivable path to victory. He even began a fundraising drive to supposedly pay for a recount, which is very unlikely to happen.

Secretary of State John Merrill tells me, so far he hasn't received any voter fraud reports from the Moore campaign, despite their promises to do so in a recent campaign email. @whnt #alsen #alpolitics

— Chris Davis WHNT 

On Wednesday, the Secretary of State’s office reported that 485 ballots had been transmitted under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), with 366 returned at this time. Almost five thousand provisional ballots had been received, with 2,888 ballots verified as of Wednesday morning and no additional ballots eligible to be received. Even if every conceivable provisional and overseas ballot went for Moore, he would still fall short of triggering an automatic recount.

Despite Moore’s claims to the contrary, his chance of being seated in the U.S. Senate is null, but that doesn’t mean we have heard the last of him. He remains a possible candidate for governor or even attorney general, two offices he was said to be considering before the Senate seat opened up.

The period to qualify for statewide offices doesn’t end until February 9, and Moore did receive almost 70 percent of the white vote in last week’s election. Were he to run, he would cause havoc in the Republican primary, where he would join a field of candidates who openly supported his failed bid to the Senate.

Before Senate seat opened, there was chatter Moore was looking to run for Gov or Atty Gen in 2018. At this point, I'd be surprised if he were not a candidate for one of those offices next year.

Moore tells supporters 'battle is not over' in Senate race https://t.co/i0e1ZITI4d

— Zac McCrary

If Moore runs for governor, he would be joining candidates who have been raising money for the last six months, including popular Republican Gov. Kay Ivey, who has almost $2 million in her campaign war chest going into Christmas. Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Ivey’s strongest opponent, has over $1 million on hand. Two other candidates, state Sen. Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) and Birmingham evangelist Scott Dawson have each surpassed the half-million fundraising mark.

Outside of judicial elections, Moore hasn’t had much success, as evidenced in last week’s election. In 2006, he ran for governor against incumbent Bob Riley and received 33 percent of the vote. He fared even worse when he ran again in 2010, finishing fourth in the GOP primary with 19 percent.

But that was then and this is now. Financial disadvantages and improbable odds have never stopped Moore before, and were he to enter and win the 2018 GOP gubernatorial primary, it might help usher another Democrat or two into office, and completely fracture the Alabama GOP.