Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated on Monday that Roy Moore should “step aside” from the Alabama U.S. Senate race, and added that he is seeking out a candidate to run as a write-in candidate.
McConnell was questioned about The Washington Post story alleging Moore engaged in sexual misconduct in 1979 and dated teenage women when he was in his early 30s.
“Is the burden on Moore to prove these (accusations) false, versus someone to prove these are true in this situation? Or do you believe these allegations are true?” a reporter asked.
“I believe the women, yes,” McConnell said. “I think he should step aside.”
After The Post story came out, the majority leader had stated Thursday that “if the allegations are true, he (Moore) should step aside.”
Moore has flatly and repeatedly denied the most serious allegation in The Post story — that he sexually touched Leigh Corfman, who was 14 at the time. He said he does not know her and it “never happened.”
It is a prime example of “fake news,” the former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice added. He stated on Sunday he will be suing The Post, presumably for defamation.
Two more women also claimed they dated Moore during this time period — when they were 17 and 18, respectively — but reported nothing sexual happened. One other stated that Moore asked her out when she was 16, but they never went on a date. The age of consent in Alabama, then as now, is 16, according to The Post.
In a radio interview with Sean Hannity on Friday, Moore said that he did not recall dating these women, but would not rule out that it may have happened. However, he added if The Post’s account is taken at face value, he dated the 17-year-old, Debbie Wesson Gibson, with the mother’s permission.
As previously reported by The Western Journal, The Post did not report in its story that Gibson campaigned with Hillary Clinton last fall and expressed support for the anti-Trump “resist” movement.
Moore responded to McConnell’s call to withdraw from the race, tweeting the only person who should step aside is the majority leader.
— Judge Roy Moore (@MooreSenate) November 13, 2017
McConnell was asked whether he was encouraging a write-in campaign for current Sen. Luther Strange.
“That is an option we’re looking at, whether or not there is someone who can mount a write-in campaign successfully,” he replied.
The McConnell-affiliated Senate Leadership Fund spent approximately $10 million supporting Strange and opposing Moore and the other GOP candidates during the primary. After weathering attack ads from the SLF, Moore stated in August he would not support McConnell staying on as majority leader.
Polling since The Post’s story has varied, showing anything from Moore trailing by a small margin to maintaining a double-digit lead over Democrat opponent Doug Jones.
A JMC Analytics poll conducted of likely voters late last week showed Jones leading by four points, 46 to 42 percent.
A poll done by Emerson College during the same time window has Moore ahead 55 to 45 percent. Another conducted by WT&S Consulting, published by Breitbart, also has Moore maintaining a double-digit lead, approximately 50 to 40 percent.
Given these margins, it seems like that Republicans would lose the seat if Strange or another GOP candidate with name recognition entered the race as a write-in.