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Historic poll loss in Alabama a blow for Trump senate plans

US President Donald Trump has distanced himself from a controversial Republican candidate who suffered a historic defeat for the party in Alabama.

Doug Jones scored the first Democratic Senate victory in the state for a quarter of a century.

Republican Roy Moore's loss was a major embarrassment for the President and a blow for the already divided Republican Party.

Mr Trump had endorsed Mr Moore despite a litany of sexual misconduct allegations against him. In his first reaction on Twitter, the President congratulated Mr Jones.

He went on to remind his followers that he had initially supported Mr Moore's opponent, Luther Strange, as candidate in the primaries.

Mr Trump tweeted: "The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election. I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!"

The Alabama seat was made vacant by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this year.

Addressing supporters, a victorious Mr Jones declared: "We have shown not just around the state of Alabama, but we have shown the country the way that we can be unified."

Mr Jones's victory narrows the Republican Party's advantage in the US Senate to 51-49.

That imperils already-uncertain Republican tax, budget and health proposals and injects tremendous energy into the Democratic Party's early push to reclaim House and Senate majorities in 2018.

Mr Moore raised the possibility of a recount during a brief appearance at a sombre campaign party in Montgomery.

"When the vote is this close, it is not over," he told supporters.

The devout Christian added he would "wait on God and let this process play out".

But the leader of the Alabama Republican party has declared the state's Senate race over.

"While we are deeply disappointed in the extremely close US Senate election results, with our candidate Judge Roy Moore, we respect the voting process given to us by our Founding Fathers," Alabama Republican Party chairman Terry Lathan said in a statement.

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