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 Sessions'Occupy ICE' protests emerge across the country Prosecutor warned border authorities office is ‘diverting’ DOJ resources from other cases: report There's room in America for domestic violence victims MORE.

Vice President Pence swore in Jones as former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenBiden: Trump family separation policy could make the US a pariah Elizabeth Warren can unify Democrats and take back the White House Giuliani doubles down on Biden comments: 'I meant that he’s dumb' 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 FrankenThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — GOP lawmakers race to find an immigration fix Richard Painter puts out 'dumpster fire' in first campaign ad Bill Clinton says 'norms have changed' in society for what 'you can do to somebody against their will' MORE (D-Minn.) was also sworn in.


Senate Democratic leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDonald Trump Jr. headlines Montana Republican convention Montana's environmental lobby teams with governor to kill 600 jobs Dems allow separation of parents, children to continue, just to score political points 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 McConnellMulvaney aims to cement CFPB legacy by ensuring successor's confirmation Senate left in limbo by Trump tweets, House delays Political figures pay tribute to Charles Krauthammer 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 MooreGeorge Will says Trump doesn’t inspire ‘cult’ in GOP: ‘This is fear’ RNC mum on whether it will support Trump-backed Corey Stewart Loyalty to Donald Trump is new normal for the Republican Party 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 TrumpGOP lawmakers preparing to vote on bill allowing migrant children to be detained longer than 20 days: report Wasserman Schultz: Infants separated from their parents are in Florida immigrant shelters Ex-White House ethics chief: Sarah Sanders tweet violates ethics laws MORE soundly defeated Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonColorado governor teases possible presidential run Mueller asks judge for September sentencing for Papadopoulos House Judiciary Committee subpoenas FBI agent who sent anti-Trump texts MORE last fall, 62 percent to 34 percent.

— This story was updated at 1:06 p.m.