On Wednesday, we witnessed the swearing-in of Doug Jones from Alabama and Tina Smith from Minnesota into the U.S. Senate. There are now 49 Democrats and 51 Republicans seated. Jones has replaced Attorney General Jeff Sessions, while Smith was appointed after Al Franken’s resignation on December 17.
A few weeks ago, many celebrated Doug Jones’s win in conservative Alabama over Roy Moore. The election gained national attention thanks to the many sexual misconduct allegations against Moore. But despite the negative press, Moore still gained a fair number of votes. Jones was still able to win, however, in a narrow 1.5% gap. This was hugely celebrated by Democrats across the nation, as Alabama has always been a conservative-voting state. Jones’s win marked the first time Alabama had a Democratic senator in 25 years.
Along with Jones, Tina Smith was also sworn into Senate. Just the day before, Al Franken stepped down from his seat as Minnesota Senator amidst many sexual assault allegations. Minnesota’s Democratic governor chose Smith, former Lieutenant Governor, to take his seat. With Smith’s swearing in, the U.S. Senate now has a record number of 22 women. It also makes Minnesota the fourth state to have all female senators. Thanks to both Jones and Smith, Republicans only have a one-vote advantage in Senate.