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Alabama GOP Senate seat in jeopardy

Matthew Vadum author image /

If embattled Alabama GOP senatorial candidate Judge Roy Moore manages to win the runoff election against Democrat Doug Jones on Dec. 12, Senate Republicans are considering refusing to allow Moore to serve in the chamber. The idea was raised in Republican insider circles in recent days. Alabama election law is inflexible on candidate substitutions at this stage of the contest, according to legal observers, so no matter what Moore’s name has to stay on the ballot. The Alabama legislature could meet and change the law but it’s hard to imagine them emulating New Jersey Democrats circa 2002.

If Moore were to win but fail to take his seat for whatever reason, the Republican governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, would be in a position to appoint an interim senator, presumably a fellow Republican, so the seat would remain in GOP hands. Luther Strange, who lost the Republican primary to Moore, is the caretaker senator right now.

Moore’s would-be colleagues in the Senate have been sprinting to distance themselves from the candidate. National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chairman Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) said today Moore is “unfit to serve.” Gardner said he believes “the individuals speaking out against” Moore. “If he refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should vote to expel him.”

Hours before Gardner made his comment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Moore should withdraw from the race. When a reporter asked him if he believed the allegations, McConnell replied, “I believe the women, yes.”

Moore’s previously sure-thing candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat for Alabama is in jeopardy after he was accused in a Washington Post article last week of dating and sexually abusing teenage girls almost four decades ago as a thirty-something male. Moore does not deny dating young girls as a grown man in the 1970s but says he did nothing wrong or unlawful. Meanwhile, more accusers have been coming forward. Moore claims he is the victim of a “witch hunt.”

Things keep getting worse for Moore.

As CNN reports:

In an appearance Monday afternoon with celebrity attorney Gloria Allred by her side, a woman named Beverly Young Nelson accused Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager.

“Mr. Moore attacked me when I was a child,” Nelson said, recounting that Moore was a regular customer at a restaurant where she worked as a waitress when she was 15 and 16. She described a harrowing chain of events that ended with Moore attempting to force her into a sex act in a parked car — an episode that, she said, left her with severe bruising on her neck.

Perhaps the most devastating moment of the press conference, however, was when Nelson produced her 1977 high school yearbook that including this inscription: “To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say ‘Merry Christmas’ Christmas 1977 Roy Moore, D.A. 12-22-77 Olde Hickory[.]”

It is hard to imagine the outlook becoming bleaker for Moore.