On Thursday, the Alabama senate race special election was rocked by allegations that Republican candidate Roy Moore made sexual advances on a young girl some 30 years ago. Most Republicans in the House and Senate have said Moore should step aside if the allegations are true, though some, like John McCain, say he should step down immediately.
Moore denies the allegations, and appears to be setting up for trench warfare over calls that he should quit the race. Politico reports on Moore’s defiance in the face of damning allegations:
A defiant Moore, who faced calls from fellow Republicans to end his Senate campaign Thursday, cast the story as a political conspiracy against him and called the story “lies,” asking “God-fearing conservatives” to help him carry on.
“The Obama-Clinton Machine’s liberal media lapdogs just launched the most vicious and nasty round of attacks against me I’ve EVER faced,” Moore wrote in the fundraising email. “I won’t to get into the details of their filthy and sleazy attacks.”
The Post reported that Moore, then age 32, initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl in 1979. The Post quoted the woman, Leigh Corfman, as well as three other women who said in multiple interviews that Moore pursued relationships with them while they were teenagers.
“The forces of evil will lie, cheat, steal — even inflict physical harm — if they believe it will silence and shut up Christian conservatives like you and me,” Moore continued in the email.
Pushing a fundraising email off the issue seems like bad taste, especially given the current environment where several high-profile men (and some women) are being exposed daily as sexual predators.
Senator McCain says Moore needs to go:
“The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying,” McCain said in a statement. “He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of.”
In calling for Moore to step aside, McCain joined a growing number of Senate Republicans condemning the allegations against the former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice.
On the other end of the spectrum, former Trump adviser, Steve Bannon, says the story on Roy Moore hearkens back to the “Access Hollywood” tape that was released back during the 2016 campaign, according to Politico:
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon on Thursday likened a report that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore had a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl to last year’s publication of the infamous Access Hollywood tape, telling a New Hampshire audience that The Washington Post, which published both, is “part of the apparatus of the Democratic Party.”
“The Bezos-Amazon-Washington Post that dropped that dime on Donald Trump, is the same Bezos-Amazon-Washington Post that dropped the dime this afternoon on Judge Roy Moore. Now is that a coincidence?” Bannon said in remarks that were reported by CBS News. “That’s what I mean when I say opposition party, right? It’s purely part of the apparatus of the Democratic Party. They don’t make any bones about it. By the way, I don’t mind it. I’ll call them out every day.”
It’s not exactly the same as the Access Hollywood tape, since that video and audio contained Donald Trump making disparaging remarks concerning what some would call sexual assault. In the case of Roy Moore, there is no tape or audio evidence, there are only allegations from one woman of actual misconduct, and a few more allegations from other women of some form of harassment when they were all under the age of consent, and Moore was in his thirties.
If I had to put money on this issue, I’d say Moore will be out of the race in short order. The Senate seat in Alabama that Moore is running for is one that Republicans cannot afford to lose under any circumstance. If for the singular reason that Moore endangers turning that seat blue, the entire Republican Party machine will be leaning heavily on Moore to quit the race. That would basically be the best case scenario for the GOP if Moore goes quietly.
But, this is the guy who campaigns with his revolver on stage, he’s not going down quietly. There is a good chance that Moore takes the Bannon route and refuses to quit. In that case, the GOP could disown him and try to run a write-in campaign with Luther Strange, or another popular Alabama Republican, and perhaps try to topple Moore at the ballot box.
Keep in mind, this race is a special election to fill the seat of outgoing Senator Jeff Sessions when he accepted the Attorney General job. That means election day for this is on December 12, 2017. The GOP has just about one month to decide what they want to do.
According to state elction officials, Moore’s name will remain on the ballot no matter what happens. At this point, it would take a Judge to remove his name even if he quit the race today.
President Trump weighed in from Asia saying that Moore should step aside if the allegations are true.
The problem is that how do you prove or disprove an allegation that happened over thirty years ago? It’s not like there is DNA evidence, security camera footage, or cell phone tracking that might help put Moore and the victim in the same place or prove some of the story. The WaPo did their due diligence in corroborating as many of the details as they could, but investigating an incident that happened decades ago can be difficult to prove or disprove.
Therefore, the bottom line is that Moore is in an untenable position, and unless he can somehow disprove the story, it will stand, and smart money says he’ll be replaced somehow. With so many GOP Senators tossing him overboard, I don’t see how he can continue, but stranger things have happened.