Republicans must turn their backs on Roy Moore

I have never provided alcohol to minors, and I have never engaged in sexual misconduct.

On Thursday, The Washington Post published allegations by four women that Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore pursued relationships with them when they were teenagers and Moore was in his 30s. But the report unquestionably introduced new waves of uncertainty and turmoil into a race for the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, the attorney general.

Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore speaks at the Values Voter Summit of the Family Research Council in Washington, DC, U.S. October 13, 2017.

In response to the allegations, Becky Ashley said: "I don't believe them at all".

But as NPR's Jessica Taylor notes, "The Alabama Republican Party and the Republican National Committee remain fundraising partners with Moore, per the agreement". Now many think they have a chance to shrink the Republican majority to a single seat and potentially snatch the majority next year.

"Not a ton of great options and even fewer if he insists on staying put", acknowledged one senior Republican Senate strategist granted anonymity to speak candidly about the Moore situation. The Trump administration too has distanced itself from the entire controversy. And it's also possible that after some initial discomfort, an terrible lot of Alabama Republicans will find their way clear to voting for Moore anyway, particularly if he and his defenders continue to hang tough. After the Post story broke, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Moore "must step aside" ahead of the December 12 special election "if these allegations are true".

In a one-sentence statement Thursday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says: "If these allegations are true, he must step aside".

"Unless he can prove his innocence, the burden is now on him, within the next day or so I believe he has to step down", Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told MSNBC.

Zeigler, who was elected in 2014 and has not said whether he is seeking a second term, has endorsed Moore and defended Moore on the allegation by a woman in the Post story that Moore dated her and had a sexual encounter with her when she was 14 and Moore was 32. Her account is too serious to ignore. The Senate's GOP leader said if the report is shown to be true, Moore must step aside.

Moore was defiant, denying the charges and attacking the news media.

"The defense from some of his supporters is beyond disgusting", Comstock wrote.

Yet there is no sign he is going away quietly. And the man he defeated in the Republican primary, current Sen.

Those who think Moore should be replaced have little hope of that happening.

"I'm prepping my candidate for what he is going to say if he is asked", said one Republican campaign manager for a top 2018 race, who asked to speak anonymously to not draw attention to race.

Moore was twice removed from his state Supreme Court position, once for disobeying a federal court order to remove a 5,200-pound granite Ten Commandments monument from the lobby of the state judicial building, and later for urging state probate judges to defy the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage. The prospect of a write-in candidacy, for a third candidate, was also under consideration, according to party aides.

Much of the Republican establishment - including McConnell and President Donald Trump - supported unusual, while the GOP's more conservative flank - including former Trump strategist Steve Bannon - backed Moore.


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