The Republican Party is desperately plotting ways to keep the Alabama Senate seat as GOP candidate Roy Moore’s prospects plummet amid a growing number of women accusing him of sexual abuse and harassment.
The Washington Post reported earlier this month that Moore, the disgraced former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who was removed from office twice, allegedly molested a 14-year-old girl when he was a 32-year-old district attorney.
The Post also reported that Moore made sexual advances toward three other teenagers in his 30s.
On Monday, Beverly Young Nelson came forward in an emotional press conference to claim Moore sexually assaulted her and tried to rape her when she was 16.
On Wednesday, AL.com reported that Moore allegedly groped a young woman in his office and made sexual advances toward a waitress.
Shortly after that piece was published, two other accusers alleged to The Washington Post that Moore sexually harassed an 18-year-old girl and numerous other teens.
According to reports by The New Yorker and AL.com, it was “common knowledge” that Moore preyed on teenage girls and several law enforcement sources suggested that the district attorney was even “banned” from the mall for harassing teens.
With eight accusers on record, few people outside of Moore’s campaign and Sean Hannity are still defending the candidate. According to a leaked internal Republican Party poll, Moore now trails Democrat Doug Jones by 12 points in the race after leading by 16 points in early October
The mounting allegations and plummeting poll numbers have led Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, National Republican Senate Committee Chair Sen. Cory Gardner, and even Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby to call on Moore to drop out and suggested supporting a write-in candidacy.
Even if Moore drops out, and he has insisted that he has no plans to do so and challenged McConnell to “bring. it. on,” it is too late to remove his name from the ballot, leaving the Republicans with few options that are all terrible.
On Wednesday, the Alabama Republican Party held a meeting and determined they would continue to back Moore’s candidacy because there is likely no one who can challenge him as a write-in and win. More likely, the two Republicans would split the vote and allow the Democrats to seize a Senate seat in arguably the reddest state of all.
According to Politico, the national Republican Party is now considering an even more drastic approach.
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his top advisers are discussing the legal feasibility of asking appointed Sen. Luther Strange to resign from his seat in order to trigger a new special election,” Politico reports.
The report notes that it’s unclear how this would work legally and procedurally but it underscores the growing desperation among party ranks.
Republican Gov. Kay Ivey would be tasked with selecting Strange’s replacement and there’s nothing to suggest she would not appoint Moore himself to appease a rabid conservative base that still vociferously supports him. Ivey, who is running in 2018, has already shot down a Republican proposal to move the special election back so Moore’s name could be taken off the ballot. She balked in the face of taking on an angry Republican base in the primary next year.
So Republicans are left with few options, especially given Ivey’s reluctance to get involved. With less than a month before the special election, the entire US Senate is being held hostage by Alabama Republicans who would rather support an accused serial child predator than a Democrat.