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Dec 14, 2:12 AM EST

The Latest: Some in GOP cheered by Moore loss in Alabama

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AP Photo/John Bazemore

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on the Alabama Senate election (all times local):

9 p.m.

Some establishment-minded Republicans are cheering Roy Moore's loss in Alabama's Senate race.

The prospect of a high-profile Republican senator dogged by sexual misconduct accusations had unnerved a GOP that's fearful of an albatross on its candidates in next year's campaigns.

Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby says Moore would have brought a "radioactive" element to the Senate GOP. Shelby cast a write-in vote for another Republican and never backed down in his opposition to Moore.

President Donald Trump acknowledges that "acknowledged, "A lot of Republicans ... feel very happy about the way it turned out." Trump and top political ally Steve Bannon had devoted time, resources and political capital to Moore in recent days.

---

4:30 p.m.

Democrat Doug Jones says he received congratulatory phone calls from President Donald Trump and other leaders after beating Republican Roy Moore in Alabama's U.S. Senate race.

Jones says the call he got from Trump Wednesday was "very gracious" after the upset win. Trump had harshly criticized him during the race.

Jones told a news conference he's also gotten calls from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Alabama Republican Sens. Richard Shelby and Luther Strange and others.

Unofficial returns show Jones defeated Moore by about 20,000 votes, or 1.5 percent.

Moore hasn't conceded, and Jones says he hasn't heard from the former judge.

---

1:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he "would have liked" embattled Roy Moore to have won the Alabama Senate race, though he acknowledges many fellow Republicans disagree.

Trump tells reporters at the White House that "a lot of Republicans feel differently. They're very happy with the way it turned out."

But the president says that "as the leader of the party, I would have liked to have had the seat."

Trump says he doesn't believe Moore's loss will affect the White House agenda, even though the Republicans edge in the Senate narrower now.

He says it will be important to elect more Republicans to Congress in 2018.

Trump had endorsed Moore despite the fact that Moore's campaign was dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct.

---

1:10 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Democrat Doug Jones' upset victory in Alabama was "an impressive election."

That's the response when the Kentucky Republican was asked what he thought about Jones' defeat of GOP candidate Roy Moore in Tuesday's race.

McConnell calls it "quite an impressive election. It was a big turnout and an unusual day."

Jones' victory will narrow the GOP edge in the Senate to 51-49. He's expected to be sworn into office early next month.

Moore's campaign was rocked after reports that he sexually assaulted teenagers decades ago, when he was in his 30s.

Alabama is overwhelmingly Republican, and Jones is the first statewide Democrat elected in the state in a quarter-century.

---

10:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump is striking a conciliatory tone toward congressional Republicans after Roy Moore's election defeat.

Trump tweets that if Moore's loss to Democrat Doug Jones in the Alabama Senate race "proved anything, it proved that we need to put up GREAT Republican candidates to increase the razor thin margins in both the House and Senate."

Trump's postelection assessment seems to be an implicit rebuke of his former strategist, Steve Bannon.

Bannon was one of Moore's staunchest backers, and he's pledged to run populist challengers against traditional GOP candidates in the primaries.

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell has said the party needs "to nominate people who can actually win, because winners make policy and losers go home."

McConnell and Trump backed Moore's GOP rival, Sen. Luther Strange, in the September primary.

---

6:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump is defending his decision to initially back Sen. Luther Strange against Roy Moore in Alabama's Senate election, saying in a predawn tweet that "Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him."

"I was right!" the president said in a pre-dawn Twitter post Wednesday, a day after Democrat Doug Jones narrowly defeated Moore, a former state Supreme Court chief justice who was buffeted by allegations of sexual misconduct.

Trump notes in his social media post that the reason he originally sided with Strange was that "I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election."

The president had sent a tweet late Tuesday congratulating Jones, a former federal prosecutor, on his "hard fought victory."

---

3:40 a.m.

In a stunning victory aided by scandal, Democrat Doug Jones won Alabama's special Senate election, beating back history, an embattled Republican opponent and President Donald Trump, who urgently endorsed GOP rebel Roy Moore despite a litany of sexual misconduct allegations.

It was the first Democratic Senate victory in a quarter-century in Alabama, one of the reddest of red states, and proved anew that party loyalty is anything but certain in the age of Trump. Tuesday's Republican loss was a major embarrassment for the president and a fresh wound for the nation's already divided GOP.

"We have shown not just around the state of Alabama, but we have shown the country the way - that we can be unified," Jones declared as supporters in a Birmingham ballroom cheered, danced and cried tears of joy. Still in shock, the Democrat struggled for words: "I think that I have been waiting all my life, and now I just don't know what the hell to say."

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