Roy Moore’s campaign for the open senate seat in Alabama is in serious trouble, and Republicans are considering desperate measures.
Following this week’s allegations by four different women who went on the record accusing Moore of pursuing them when they were in his teens and he was in his 30s, Moore saw his poll numbers plummet. One poll released prior to the Washington Post’s publication of the allegations had Moore leading Democrat Doug Jones by 11 points, but a poll released a day after the allegations became public showed the two candidates in a dead heat.
Given that Moore has refused to exit the race, Republican officials in Alabama are reportedly considering delaying the special election until they can convince Moore to drop out and put another Republican in his place.
The New York Times reported that Republicans are lobbying Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) to reschedule the December 12 special election, even though she already did that once after inheriting the governor’s office following disgraced former Governor Robert Bentley’s removal from office:
Alabama election law requires candidates to withdraw at least 76 days before an election in order to be replaced on the ballot, a deadline Mr. Moore has already missed… But there is no apparent precedent for rescheduling an election so close to the planned vote, Republicans acknowledged. In addition to state election laws, such an extreme step could also run afoul of federal voting rights law.
According to that same article, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has also not ruled out refusing to seat Moore if he were to win the election, as the allegations would be an albatross around Republicans’ necks.
Rather than suspend the election, Republicans are also asking outgoing Senator Luther Strange — who was appointed to replace Jeff Sessions after he was appointed as Attorney General and later lost the Republican primary to Moore — to run a write-in campaign to give Republicans an alternative to Moore. As of this writing, Strange has not made any announcement about running a last-ditch campaign.
Doug Jones — the former U.S. Attorney who successfully prosecuted two Klansmen who carried out a terrorist attack against a Birmingham church in 1963 — said he had no advance knowledge of the allegations against his opponent prior to their publication.
Scott Alden is a freelance contributor covering national politics, education, and environmental issues. He is a proud Toledo University graduate, and lives in the suburbs of Detroit.