polo like kinase GOP fundraising panel cuts ties to Alabama
The 70 year old former state Supreme Court justice defiantly denied allegations of decades old sexual misconduct with minors published Thursday in a Washington Post story.
WASHINGTON The National Republican Senatorial Committee is ending its fundraising agreement with Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore in light of allegations of sexual contact with a teenager decades ago.
The group had been part of a fundraising committee that includes the Alabama Republican Party and the Republican National Committee. The information was in a filing to the Federal Election Commission on Friday.
The step comes as Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have called on Moore to step aside in the Alabama Senate race if the allegations are true.
Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado is chairman of the NRSC, the campaign arm of the Senate GOP.
Moore has been defiant, insisting he would not quit the race for the Dec. 12 special election for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ former seat.
Republicans weren’t supposed to have to worry about Alabama.
Yet in the span of a tumultuous afternoon, a low profile special election became a Republican nightmare that threatens a once safe Senate seat and offers a new window into ugly divisions that continue to plague the GOP in the age of President Donald Trump.
Moore, a 70 year old former state Supreme Court justice, defiantly denied allegations of decades old sexual misconduct with minors published Thursday in a Washington Post story. The revelations, a month before the Dec. 12 special election, triggered a sharp backlash from would be Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill, who called on Moore to quit the race if the allegations were true.
But on the ground in Alabama, local Republicans showed little sign of turning their backs on Moore. Some lashed out at his alleged victims.
“If they believe this man is predatory, they are guilty of allowing him to exist for 40 years. I think someone should prosecute and go after them. You can’t be a victim 40 years later, in my opinion,” state Rep. Ed Henry told The Cullman Times.
“It’s mudslinging at its best,” said one of Moore’s neighbors, 45 year old Chris Hopper of Altoona, Ala. He added, “Why not vote for somebody that’s got good Christian values?”
In Washington, however, the controversy marked a bittersweet moment for some in the Republican establishment who argued that Moore, a Christian culture warrior twice removed from his state’s Supreme Court for judicial misconduct, never should have been the party’s Senate nominee in the first place. Some blamed Steve Bannon, Trump’s former senior strategist, who broke from most GOP leaders including Trump himself by cheering Moore’s candidacy earlier in the year.
“Dear GOP, send your thank you cards to the Breitbart embassy attn: Steve Bannon,” tweeted a sarcastic Josh Holmes, a former aide to McConnell.
Moore is the latest soldier in Bannon’s self described war on the Republican establishment. Frustrated that GOP leaders haven’t quickly executed Trump’s agenda, Bannon has vowed to defeat every Senate Republican up for re election next year, save for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Bannon referenced Moore only briefly during an appearance Thursday night in New Hampshire, attacking The Washington Post an “apparatus of the Democratic Party,” he called it for also being among the first to report the “Access Hollywood” tape that caught Trump using sexual predatory language before the 2016 election.
“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,” Bannon said. “Now is that a coincidence? That’s what I mean when I say ‘opposition party.'”
The White House said Trump believes Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore “will do the right thing and step aside” if sexual misconduct allegations against him are true. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters traveling with Trump in Asia that the president believes a “mere allegation” especially one from many years ago shouldn’t be allowed to destroy a person’s life.
But Sanders said: “The president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.”
Moore’s challenge in Alabama comes the same week that Republicans suffered sweeping election losses across several states, none more significant than Virginia, where Democrats seized the governor’s office and may have changed the balance of power in the state legislature.
Across Washington, the calls from anxious Republicans for Moore to step aside if the allegations proved true grew as the hours passed on Thursday. They included Trump, McConnell and Cruz, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep.
Moore showed no signs of going quietly, vowing in a fundraising message distributed in the midst of Thursday’s chaos to “NEVER GIVE UP the fight!” as he cast his struggle as a “spiritual battle.”
It’s too late for Moore’s name to be removed from the ballot before the Dec. 12 special election even if he withdraws from the race, according to John Bennett, a spokesman for the Alabama secretary of state. A write in campaign remains possible, Bennett added.
Sen. Luther Strange, the Trump backed interim senator who lost to Moore in a September primary contest, wouldn’t immediately say whether he’d re enter the race.
“Well, that’s getting the cart ahead of the horse. But I will have something to say about that. Let me do some more research,” Strange told The Associated Press.
In Alabama, however, many responded with a collective shrug.
“Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus,” Alabama state Auditor Jim Ziegler told The Washington Examiner.