(CN) – Polls show a race too close to call between embattled Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones, as the nation braces for results in the special election for a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama that has centered on accusations Moore molested and tried to date teenage girls 40 years ago.
Moore said at his final campaign rally Monday that the campaign to fill the vacant Senate seat has taken on a national importance.
Tuesday's special election is the first senatorial race since President Donald Trump took office, necessitated by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions leaving his old seat to become the nation’s top law enforcement officer.
Millions of dollars poured into Alabama and A-list politicos like Trump and former President Barack Obama used their clout to stump for their candidates. Others including former White House advisor Steve Bannon and basketball legend Charles Barkley have also traveled to the Heart of Dixie for the race.
Poll aggregator RealClearPolitics shows Moore leading Jones by 2.2 percentage points as of Tuesday morning, but it labels the race as a toss up.
At stake is the U.S. Senate. Republicans hold a narrow majority there and whoever Alabamians choose as their next senator will help shape the judiciary, among other decisions. And while Alabama is traditionally a reliably red state, allegations that Moore pursued relationships with teenage girls threw the race into a tailspin.
The Washington Post reported on allegations last month that Moore, now 70, sought to date and molested girls who were in their teens when he was in his 30s.
At least nine women have come forward, including Leigh Corfman, who claims Moore made inappropriate advances and had sexual contact with her when she was 14.
Corfman says Moore, then 32, first approached her in early 1979 outside a courtroom in Etowah County, Ala., when she was with her mother. After phone calls and meetings, he allegedly drove her to his home a few days later and kissed her. On another visit, Corfman claims Moore took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes except for his underwear before touching her over her bra and underpants and guiding her hand to touch him over his underwear.
Other women have accused Moore of acts ranging from trying to date them to giving them alcohol when they were in their teens.
He has denied any wrongdoing.
The embattled Republican spoke to a crowd of his supporters Monday night in a barn in Midland City, Ala., which sits in the southeast corner of the state, the night before the polls opened in the special election.
During his speech, Moore said Alabama voters wouldn’t let out-of-state influences dictate the election.
“We dare defend our rights and we will defend our rights,” Moore said, quoting the state motto of Alabama.
While Moore and his supporters quoted scripture and condemned “fake news,” his opponent, Jones, scheduled phone banking events and a get-out-the-vote rally Monday.
On social media, the Jones campaign posted a video of a shortened and edited version of a speech he gave last week. It served as the campaign’s closing arguments.