Democrat Doug Jones officially declared winner in Alabama Senate race

FILE - In this Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017 file photo, Democrat Doug Jones speaks in Birmingham, Ala. Roy Moore is going to court to try to stop Alabama from certifying Jones as the winner of the U.S. Senate race. Moore filed a lawsuit Wednesday evening, Dec. 27, 2017, in Montgomery Circuit Court. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama election officials have officially declared Democrat Doug Jones the winner of a special Senate election held earlier this month.

Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore by about 22,000 votes on Dec. 12 and became the first Democratic Senate victory in a quarter-century in Alabama. Moore was dogged by accusations of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls that occurred decades ago.

He refused to concede the race and filed a last-ditch lawsuit Wednesday, saying there were voting irregularities that needed to be investigated.

An Alabama judge has rejected Moore’s attempt to stop the state from making his defeat official.

Montgomery Circuit Judge Johnny Hardwick on Thursday denied Moore’s attempt to delay the certification of votes while Moore’s claims of voting irregularities are investigated. Democrat Doug Jones is expected to be certified as the winner Thursday afternoon.

Moore had filed a lawsuit late Wednesday night in an 11th-hour attempt to stop Alabama from certifying Jones as the winner.

Moore’s attorney wrote in the lawsuit that he believed there were irregularities and said there should be a fraud investigation and eventually a new election.

Alabama election officials say they found no evidence of fraud.

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