Last night, a victory was had — a political victory that feels like one of the first we’ve had this year, making it even sweeter. Doug Jones, the 63-year-old lawyer who ended his victory speech with “Teach Me How to Dougie,” (perfect, we agree) narrowly defeated Republican Roy Moore, an accused sexual predator.
The New York Times headline “Roy Moore Loses, Sanity Reigns” said it best. Women voted for Jones by 57 percent, but the breakdown differed by race. According to CNN exit polls, ninety-eight percent of black women voted for Jones (#BlackVoters) , while, troublingly, 63 percent of white women voted for Moore. Here are five things you may not know about Doug Jones:
1. He’s never run for office before — While Jones has been a lawyer for nearly 40 years — and nominated for U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama in 1997 — Jones hadn’t previously run for office. He is, however, pals with Joe Biden, having worked on his 1988 presidential campaign. Biden returned the favor, endorsing Jones’s Senate campaign and appearing at an October rally.
2. He grew up in the Deep South during segregation — Jones grew up in Fairfield, Alabama, a town just outside Birmingham that was still segregated for most of his childhood. He didn’t attend classes with black students until he was in the seventh grade and was known as a sort of peacemaker at the high school he attended. Darnell Gardner, one of the first black students to attend Fairfield High School remembered a white student sticking a spitball in his hair. “Whatever was about to happen, he was there to put it out,” Gardner told USA Today. “Doug was always that person who saw both sides and wanted to help move things.”
3. Thinks that women should be paid an equal wage for equal work — and wants quality healthcare for all — Jones states on his site that he believes “Women must be paid an equal wage for equal work at all levels,” and “Everyone has the right to quality, affordable health care.”
4. He’s pro-choice — Jones also says he will “defend a woman’s right to choose and stand with Planned Parenthood,” a very refreshing thing to hear a politician say in the age of Trump. His position put him at odds with many evangelical Alabama voters.
5. He successfully prosecuted two KKK members for the Birmingham church bombing. — In 1963, two members of the Ku Klux Klan bombed a Birmingham church that killed four young African-American girls and injured 22 others. As U.S. Attorney, Jones led the successful prosecution of Thomas Blanton and Frank Cherry, the men responsible for the bombing. Both men were found guilty and sentenced to prison.