Attorney Doug Jones became the newest US senator after he defeated Republican candidate Roy Moore in an upset election win on Tuesday night, topping off an impressive career in law to become the first Democratic senator from Alabama in over twenty years.
The son of a steelworker, Jones’ enjoyed an impressive career as a US attorney and prosecutor. He famously put two Ku Klux Klan members in prison for their role in a 1963 bombing.
Here’s how Jones’ humble beginnings in Alabama led him to the US Senate:
Jones was born in Fairfield, Alabama near Birmingham where his father worked at US Steel. After working for a steel mill himself, Jones graduated from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and got his law degree from Samford University in 1979.
He began his career working as a staff counsel at the US Senate Judiciary Committee on behalf of former Sen. Howard Heflin, the last Democrat to hold a seat for Alabama.
By the 1980s, Jones became an assistant US attorney. In 1997, former President Bill Clinton appointed him the US attorney in Northern Alabama. The US Senate confirmed his nomination in a voice vote.
In 1998, terrorist Eric Rudolph bombed a Birmingham abortion clinic. Jones was nearby and rushed to the scene. “The image of a bombed building and body of a police officer will remain with me for the rest of my life,” Jones later wrote.
Sources: Doug Jones for US Senate
Jones headed the task force responsible for the Rudolph case, and advocated for him to be tried for the crime in Alabama first before extraditing him to Georgia for another attack there. Rudolph was eventually captured and pleaded guilty to the charges in 2005.
In 2002, Jones prosecuted two Ku Klux Klan members, Thomas Edwin Blanton Jr. and Bobby Frank Cherry, for their role in the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that claimed the lives of four African-American girls.
Jones was able to successfully win murder convictions for both men, almost 40 years after their crimes were committed.
Following this high-profile legal win, Jones resigned from his US attorney position, and took up private practice. During this period he fought corruption cases, headed up an environmental clean-up, and pursued business litigation.
When Jones announced his 2017 run for US senate as a Democrat, his friend and colleague Gregory Vega was not optimistic about his chances. “I was just candid with him — it’s going to be an uphill battle,” Vega said.
Source: NBC News
Nevertheless, due to his opponent Roy Moore’s sexual misconduct allegations and a remarkably high black voter turnout, Jones prevailed on Tuesday night, following in the footsteps of his former mentor Sen. Heflin.
Source: Business Insider
Jones and his wife, Louise, have three children and two granddaughters. The night of the special election was their 25th wedding anniversary.
Democrats across the country celebrated his victory in one of the reddest states in the country. Jones will give his party another seat in the Senate, yielding a 51-49 split with tenuous Republican control.
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