Jones sworn into Sessions's old Senate seat

Democrat Doug Jones was sworn in as the new senator from Alabama on Wednesday, taking the seat formerly held by Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Grassley to Sessions: Policy for employees does not comply with the law New immigration policy leaves asylum seekers in the lurch MORE.

Vice President Pence swore in Jones as former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenBiden says he would advise Trump against Mueller interview Biden on Trump's 'treason' comments: 'He's a joke' Joe Kennedy: Biden likely would have defeated Trump MORE, Senate Democratic leadership and several members from both parties looked on from the Senate floor.

Pence and Jones also took part in a mock swearing-in with his family and Biden in the old Senate chamber. Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), who is replacing former Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenOvernight Finance: Senators near two-year budget deal | Trump would 'love to see a shutdown' over immigration | Dow closes nearly 600 points higher after volatile day | Trade deficit at highest level since 2008 | Pawlenty leaving Wall Street group Pawlenty departing Wall Street group as campaign rumors swirl Bachmann won't run for Franken's Senate seat because she did not hear a 'call from God' MORE (D-Minn.) was also sworn in.


Senate Democratic leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP lawmaker: Dems not standing for Trump is 'un-American' Trump called for unity — he didn’t even last a week Overnight Defense: GOP plays hardball by attaching defense funding to CR | US reportedly drawing down in Iraq | Russia, US meet arms treaty deadline | Why the military wants 6B from Congress MORE (N.Y.) praised Jones, noting his work prosecuting members of the Ku Klux Klan. 

"He ... represents the very best of public service, the very best of America, the things we aspire to in this country," he said. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDems confront Kelly after he calls some immigrants 'lazy' McConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration Overnight Defense: Latest on spending fight - House passes stopgap with defense money while Senate nears two-year budget deal | Pentagon planning military parade for Trump | Afghan war will cost B in 2018 MORE (R-Ky.), meanwhile, said Jones "will have some big shoes to fill." 

"His state has sent some very distinguished legislators to Washington, including our attorney general, Jeff Sessions," McConnell said. 

Jones's arrival shifts the balance of power in the Senate, giving Republicans a narrower path to use reconciliation — which allows them to avoid a filibuster — to pass legislation.

Jones gives Democrats a 49th Senate seat heading into January fights over government funding and immigration, as well as the 2018 midterm elections.

Conversely, the flipping of the Alabama Senate seat brings the GOP majority down to 51 seats. The loss is expected to force Republicans to narrow their majorities on some Senate committees.

Jones defeated former state Supreme Court chief justice Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreDNC vice chairman to RNC spokeswoman: 'You endorsed an alleged pedophile' Doug Jones hoping Trump delivers ‘presidential address’ instead of campaign speech Rep. Joe Kennedy looks to raise profile with Trump response MORE last month in a special election, making him the first Democrat to be elected to a Senate seat in Alabama in 25 years.

Republicans immediately urged Jones to work with them, noting his state’s political leanings.

Jones told NBC News earlier Wednesday that he wanted to be a “good senator” who works across the aisle. 

“I’m hoping to be a good senator. I don’t think that’s a partisan issue. I think any good senator is a bipartisan, and that’s what I’m looking to do,” he said.

Jones won the Senate seat after several women accused Moore of sexual misconduct, including pursuing relationships with them while they were teenagers and he was in his 30s.

In a bombshell Washington Post report, Leigh Corfman said Moore initiated a sexual encounter with her when she was 14 years old and he was 32. Moore denied the allegations.

Jones, a former federal prosecutor, will serve out the rest of the term formerly held by Sessions until January 2021.

Jones is expected to face an uphill battle to hold the seat in a state where President TrumpDonald John TrumpTillerson: Russia already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Dems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Speier on Trump's desire for military parade: 'We have a Napoleon in the making' MORE soundly defeated Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump touts report Warner attempted to talk to dossier author Poll: Nearly half of Iowans wouldn’t vote for Trump in 2020 Rubio on Warner contact with Russian lobbyist: It’s ‘had zero impact on our work’ MORE last fall, 62 percent to 34 percent.

— This story was updated at 1:06 p.m.