SPOKANE, Wash. - The results of Alabama's special election for Senate are being felt locally in Spokane as our Republican and Democratic parties prepare for the 2018 midterm elections.
Many political analysts considered last night's election a lose-lose situation for Republicans. Either they lost a seat in the Senate, or elected a deeply controversial candidate who would carry heavy baggage with him to Washington D.C.
The dagger to Republican Roy Moore's candidacy was allegations of child molestation from more than 30 years ago.
"Obviously, the voters felt these allegations had some credibility and that hurt Mr. Moore. He was already a controversial candidate," said Stephanie Cates, chair of the Spokane Republican Party.
Meanwhile, local Democrats are celebrating the election of Democrat Doug Jones. He's the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Alabama in 25 years.
"I was encouraged. If a Democrat can win in Alabama, a Democrat can definitely win in Eastern Washington," said Andrew Biviano, chair of the Spokane County Democratic Party.
With the 2018 midterm elections just a year away, the Spokane County Democratic Party feels last night's election, coupled with this year's general election in November, show another shift in the country's politics.
"The fact that we were even able to compete in Alabama shows that there's also a big groundswell, like we saw in Virginia, like you saw in Spokane County. We're looking at a major wave right now," Biviano said.
Democrats say Jones' win in Alabama gives them hope that next year Democratic candidate Lisa Brown will be able to unseat Republican Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers. A Republican has held the 5th Congressional District seat for 23 years.
Democrats also feels Tuesday night's election was a rejection of President Donald Trump, who endorsed Moore weeks before the election.
Republicans, though, argue this election had nothing to do with the President.
"I don't think this was a referendum on President Trump. I think it was how the voters felt about Roy Moore, who, again, was already a controversial candidate," Cates said.
Jones will be confirmed to the Senate sometime in January. Power will still lie with Republicans, 51 to 49 chairs, but that means only one Republican has to vote against President Trump's agenda to derail proposed legislation.
Both local Democrats and Republicans agree that it will be important for both parties in the Senate to work together to move the country forward.
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