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 SessionsTrump: Appointing Sessions was my biggest mistake Nikki Haley blasts Roy Moore's Senate bid: 'He does not represent our Republican Party' Time magazine: Trump threatened reporter with prison time MORE.

Vice President Pence swore in Jones as former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden, Eastland and rejecting the cult of civility Inslee unveils plan to fight fossil fuel pollution Biden lays out immigration priorities, rips Trump for 'assault on dignity' 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 12:30 Report: Mexican officials scramble to avoid Trump tariffs The Hill's Morning Report - Tariff battle looms as Trump jabs 'foolish' Senate GOP Barbs start to fly ahead of first Democratic debate MORE (D-Minn.) was also sworn in.


Senate Democratic leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell-backed Super PAC says nominating Roy Moore would be 'gift wrapping' seat to Dems McConnell vows to 'vigorously' oppose Moore's Senate bid Pelosi: Trump delay on Harriet Tubman is 'an insult to the hopes of millions' 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 McConnellBiden, Eastland and rejecting the cult of civility California governor predicts 'xenophobic' GOP will likely be third party in 15 years This week: Congress set for clash on Trump's border request 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 MooreNikki Haley blasts Roy Moore's Senate bid: 'He does not represent our Republican Party' The Hill's Morning Report — US strikes approved against Iran pulled back Klobuchar fundraises for Doug Jones following Roy Moore's Senate run announcement 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 TrumpConway defends herself against Hatch Act allegations amid threat of subpoena How to defuse Gulf tensions and avoid war with Iran Trump says 'stubborn child' Fed 'blew it' by not cutting rates MORE soundly defeated Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck The Memo: All eyes on faltering Biden ahead of first debate Trump says he's not prepared to lose in 2020 MORE last fall, 62 percent to 34 percent.

— This story was updated at 1:06 p.m.