(CN) – Alabama Democrat Doug Jones was officially declared the winner of a U.S. Senate race Thursday after a judge rejected Republican Roy Moore’s last-ditch effort to stop the certification of Jones’ historic upset in a deep-red state.
Montgomery Circuit Judge Johnny Hardwick denied Moore’s request for a restraining order to stop Alabama’s canvassing board from certifying Jones’ victory on Thursday.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill certified Jones as the winner of the Dec. 12 election on Thursday afternoon. The Democrat will be sworn in on Jan. 3.
Moore moved late Wednesday night to block officials from certifying the victory of Democrat Doug Jones in the state’s high-profile special Senate election because of “systematic voter fraud.”
Moore, the first Republican to lose a U.S. Senate race in 25 years filed his complaint just after 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night.
In an 80-page complaint filed in the Montgomery County Circuit Court, Moore’s campaign claimed that voter fraud ran rampant at the polls on Dec. 12. Moore, who was plagued throughout his campaign by allegations he had inappropriate relationships with teenage girls four decades ago, lost to Doug Jones by fewer than 22,000 votes, a gap of 1.5 percentage points — 49.9 to 48.4.
Moore’s campaign said it believes there were irregularities during the election and said there should be a fraud investigation and eventually a new election.
“This is not a Republican or Democrat issue as election integrity should matter to everyone,” Moore said in a statement released Wednesday via Facebook announcing the complaint.
In the complaint, Moore’s attorneys noted the higher than expected turnout in the race, particularly in Jefferson County, and said that Moore’s numbers were suspiciously low in about 20 Jefferson County precincts.
Merrill said he has so far not found evidence of voter fraud, but that his office will investigate any complaint that Moore submits.
If the election were prematurely certified, the complaint said, he will “suffer irreparable harm” and be “denied his full right as a candidate to a fair election.”
Moore’s attorneys also suggested that a judge consider calling a new election to fill the Senate seat that Jeff Sessions vacated to become U.S. attorney general.
Despite Thursday’s developments, Moore continued to refuse to concede the Senate election, issuing a statement that appeared to intensify his claims the seat had been stolen from him.
“Election fraud experts across the country have agreed that this was a fraudulent election,” Moore said in his statement. “I’ve had to fight not only the Democrats but also the Republican Senate Leadership Fund and over $50 million in opposition spending from the Washington establishment.”
“I have stood for the truth about God and the Constitution for the people of Alabama,” He continued. “I have no regrets. To God be the glory.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.