Former judge and current Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore will be on his own for fundraising if he stays in the race, from the looks of paperwork filed Friday by a Republican Party.
A joint fundraising committee that’s been supporting Moore filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to remove the the Senate GOP’s campaign arm, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), as one of its partners. The move certainly looks like an attempt to put some daylight between the former Alabama state supreme court justice and the Republican party “establishment” in the wake of decades-old sex abuse allegations.
Following a report in the Washington Post that Moore allegedly had inappropriate sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl in 1979, the NRSC issued statements from Sen. Cory Gardner, (R-Colo.), the committee’s chairman, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), calling on Moore to step aside — if the claims are true.
But Republicans have been divided on how to deal with the allegations, with national GOP leaders trying to distance themselves from the now-troubled candidate and party officials in Alabama standing by Moore. Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Friday joined his former rival Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) in calling for the party to abandon Moore, tweeting “innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections.”
Even the Trump White House seems conflicted on the question of Moore.
“Like most Americans the president believes we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person’s life,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters aboard Air Force One Friday, according to the Los Angeles Times. “However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.”
Moore and his campaign lashed out on Twitter and on the campaign website Thursday, calling the Post story a “baseless political attack” by the “forces of evil waging an all-out war on our conservative values!”
In addition to the story of then-14-year-old Leigh Corfman, the Nov. 9 Post story also gives the accounts of three other women who said Moore took them on dates and kissed them when they were between 16 and 18 years old and he was in his early 30s. The encounters were not sexual, but the women say “they found flattering at the time, but troubling as they got older.”
Alabama’s special election to fill the Senate seat vacated when Jeff Sessions became attorney general is set for Dec. 12.