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 SessionsHillicon Valley: Trump cyber strategy lets US go on offense | AT&T urges court to let Time Warner merger stand | Conservatives want wife of DOJ official to testify | Facebook, nonprofits team up to fight fake news | DC camera hacker pleads guilty Vote Democrat in midterms to rein in Trump, preserve justice Sessions limits ability of judges to dismiss deportation cases MORE.

Vice President Pence swore in Jones as former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenFord taps Obama, Clinton alum to navigate Senate hearing Trump endorses Republican candidate in key NJ House race Poll: Most Massachusetts voters don't think Warren should run for president in 2020 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 FrankenElection Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls #MeToo era shows there's almost never only one accuser, says Hill.TV's Krystal Ball Hypocrisy in Kavanaugh case enough to set off alarms in DC MORE (D-Minn.) was also sworn in.


Senate Democratic leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation 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 McConnellKey GOP senators appear cool to Kavanaugh accuser's demand Trump hints at new executive action on immigration, wants filibuster-proof Senate majority The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — The Hill interviews President Trump 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 MooreGAO investigating after employee featured in Project Veritas video Roy Moore dismisses Kavanaugh accusation: 'So obvious' when claims come 'just days before a very important event' DOJ looking into 'concerning' behavior by employee in Project Veritas video 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 TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE soundly defeated Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE last fall, 62 percent to 34 percent.

— This story was updated at 1:06 p.m.