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GOP Ala. Senate Candidate Roy Moore Faces Pressure to Drop Out After Being Accused of Sexually Abusing 14-Year-Old

Roy Moore (Brynn Anderson, File/AP Images)
Roy Moore (Brynn Anderson, File/AP Images)

A banner week for Democrats just got better, now that a Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama has been accused of pursuing a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl when he was in his 30s, and national Republican leadership is asking him to drop out of a special election to replace Jeff Sessions.

Sorry to politicize a truly horrible action, but hey, if it gets Roy Moore—who, according to The Root’s politics editor, Jason Johnson, is a Breitbart-approved, “virulently bigoted, white-supremacist-sympathizing, Jeff Sessions-patterned candidate”—so the better. (Or, in the words of Oprah, “Dey is a God.”)

Receipts:

  • Moore, who led most of the polls into the runoff, is a judge who was twice removed from office for refusing to enforce federal law and for encouraging other judges to violate the law.
  • Moore supported the Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, a bill that gave Alabama police the right to arrest anyone they suspected of not being an American citizen until that person could “prove” his or her citizenship.
  • Moore, as a sitting judge in Alabama, said that then-President Barack Obama wasn’t an American citizen and that Islam is a “false religion” that breeds terrorists (20 percent of American Muslims are African American).
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And Moore, a former Alabama chief justice and candidate for the U.S. Senate, allegedly pursued sexual encounters with teenage girls decades ago.

The Washington Post reported Thursday morning that Moore first befriended and then made sexual advances toward 14-year-old Leigh Corfman in 1979, when he was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney in Etowah County, Ala. The article outlined the contours of their “relationship” in depressing detail. Moore is accused of plying the teenager with alcohol at his house, where, Corfman now says, he kissed her, partially undressed her and tried to get her to touch him sexually.

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From the Post:

The legal age of consent in Alabama, then and now, is 16. Under Alabama law in 1979, and today, a person who is at least 19 years old who has sexual contact with someone older than 12 and younger than 15 has committed sexual abuse in the second degree. Sexual contact is defined as touching of sexual or intimate parts. The crime is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

The law then and now also includes a section on enticing a child younger than 16 to enter a home with the purpose of proposing sexual intercourse or fondling of sexual and genital parts. That is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

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The Post also interviewed three other women who say that “Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s, episodes they say they found flattering at the time, but troubling as they got older. None of the three women say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact.”

Reaction from those in his own party has been swift and severe.

Business Insider reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and National Republican Senate Committee Chairman Cory Gardner both released statements Thursday afternoon calling on Moore to drop out of the special Senate election after the accusations came to light.

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In addition to the leadership, prominent Republican pols spoke out Thursday afternoon, saying that Moore should bow out if the accusations are true. A chorus of them, including Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, say that he needs to hit the road.

Moore is running to occupy the seat left open when Sessions became U.S. attorney general under President Donald Trump.

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Now 70, Moore has denied the allegations and says that they are motivated by the “Democrat Party” and “fake news,” according to the Washington Post.

The Huffington Post reports that even if Moore withdraws, he cannot be easily replaced on the ballot, perhaps ensuring that the seat will fall to the Democratic challenger Doug Jones in the Dec. 12 election.

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If that happens, the GOP will have an even smaller majority in the U.S. Senate, and Dems may be able to take the upper house back in 2018.

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Saints, keep praying.

Read more at the Washington Post.

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Senior Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.

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DISCUSSION

startingoveragain
StartingOverAgain

Yeesh, the calculus you have to do here is mind bending as far as what potential scenario is the best.

1. Moore doesn’t drop out, still has some chance to win the Senate race. Is likely slightly more awful than a potential replacement on the Republican ticket.

2. Moore drops out. Republican replaces him, probably has a better chance to win the Senate seat, and is slightly less awful than Moore.

Under scenario 1, the odds of Moore losing are growing, but in a state that voted 62% for Trump, he still probably has decent odds of winning.

Under scenario 2, you get a Republican candidate who is (maybe) slightly less awful than Moore but who is a strong favorite to win.

So risk the awfulness of Moore for a chance at an upset or take what might be a slightly less terrible Republican as a virtual lock.

Given that the meaningful difference between Moore and his likely replacement from an effective standpoint is minimal (they’d both still both vote for stupid tax cuts, stupid healthcare bills, and stupid Trump legislation in all likelihood), I hope Moore stays in and we get to see just how tribalistic Alabama voters can be when faced with the prospect of voting for a pedo or a Democrat.