2017 in review: The scandal and history made in Alabama politics

2017 in review: The scandal and history made in Alabama politics

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - 2017 started the year with Gov. Robert Bentley and ended the year with Gov. Kay Ivey.

Luther Strange became the tallest, and one of the shortest-serving senators in U.S. history.

Doug Jones became the first Democrat to win a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama in 25 years (the last one, current sitting Republican senator Richard Shelby).

State Superintendent Michael Sentance resigned after a little more than a year on the job.

State lawmakers passed redistricting and Autism insurance bills but failed to do much with prisons or a bill improving childcare oversight.

Those are just some of the events which happened over the last calendar year in Alabama politics.

Much of the year's drama really started in February, when governor Robert Bentley appointed then-Attorney General Luther Strange to the U.S. Senate to replace Jeff Sessions.

The appointment was controversial because many thought Strange was investigating Bentley for using state funds to carry out an affair with former staff member Rebekah Mason. Strange sent a letter months before the appointment leading to the impeachment investigation stopping its work.

While Strange went to Washington, the impeachment investigation and others ramped up.

On Apr. 10, Bentley resigned as governor. The resignation only came after the ethics commission found probable cause the governor violated ethics and campaign finance laws, an impeachment investigation document release, which included text messages between Rebekah Mason and Bentley (along with other evidence), and mounting pressure from lawmakers.

That day Kay Ivey was sworn in as governor, becoming just the second woman ever to hold the position in the state.

Ivey quickly changed the special election to fill Jeff Sessions' Senate seat date from 2018's midterm election to this year.

On Apr. 19, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's term length suspension from the court was upheld. The suspension came after Moore was found to have ordered probate justices to not obey the supreme court's same sex marriage decision.

Moore would soon resign his post as Chief Justice to run for the Senate seat.

Democrat Doug Jones announced he would also run for Senate, but to much less fanfare. The former U.S. prosecutor best known for putting members of the KKK behind bars for their roles in the 16th Street church bombings, would later in the year "fulfill a lifelong dream."

Doug Jones would easily win the Democratic primary in August outright.

Moore faced off against Mo Brooks and Luther Strange among others. Strange and Moore went to a runoff. Strange campaigned hard on being Trump's supporter in Washington, but the endorsement and campaign rally for the president was not enough as Moore won the Republican nomination in the runoff.

Moore was a controversial candidate before the Senate race, however the biggest controversy struck in early November when a bombshell broke with multiple women accusing Moore of sexual misconduct while they were underage and he was in his early 30's. Moore denied any allegation of sexual misconduct.

Doug Jones campaigned on "kitchen table issues." Issues he said people wanted to talk about and wanted fixed, like healthcare. Jones said he could talk to people and work to get things done in Washington, and unlike his opponent Roy Moore, Jones would "follow the rule of law."

The special election shattered turnout records for any previous special election. Jones rode the high voter turnout and wide margin in urban areas to victory. Jones won on election day in a tight race, beating Moore by just 1.6 percent.

Moore refused to concede on election day, and has yet to concede the race. Wednesday night Moore filed a last-minute lawsuit claiming voter fraud. A judge knocked down the lawsuit. Although Moore still claims the election was fraudulent, Doug Jones' victory was made official on Dec. 28.

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