According to a report in The Washington Post, GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore has been accused of inappropriate sexual conduct with a 14-year-old girl when Moore was 32 and serving as Assistant District Attorney in the State of Alabama. This and three other allegations have struck a raw nerve at the GOP as its favored-to-win candidate heads to the special election in December.
Among other Republican heavyweights, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has called for Moore to step down:
“The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying. He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of.”
Other Republican senators, including National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have taken a softer stand, but have called for Roy Moore to step down if the allegations are true.
Moore’s campaign, meanwhile, has cried foul, labeling all allegations against Moore as “garbage”. Moore himself, a former Alabama state Supreme Court judge, has said that he refuses to stand down, and his hard stand may well resonate with his hardcore supporters.
With several states already having witnessed a barrage of wins for the Democrats this month, the Republican Party has definitely been put in a tough spot a month before the special election against Democratic nominee Doug Jones.
The incidents that Moore is accused of allegedly happened nearly 40 years ago. One allegation, levied by Leigh Corfman, now 53, states that the inappropriate sexual conduct happened when Moore offered to watch Corfman while her mother attended a child custody hearing.
According to Corfman, Moore asked for her number, and later took her to his home and kissed her. In another incident, she claims that Moore took off much of his and her clothing, touched her over her underwear and then proceeded to try and place her hand over his, at which point she says she pulled her hand back.
Three other women have come forward to the Washington Post to say that they were also kissed by Moore when they were between the ages of 16 and 18. At the time, the legal age of content was 16 in the State of Alabama. In Corfman’s case, the statute of limitations has long expired, says the Post.
Bill Armistead, the chairman of Moore’s campaign for the U.S. Senate, has issued a lengthy statement that accuses the Post of printing the story to hurt Moore, and the Jeff Bezos-owned paper, along with the Democratic Party, of coming up with a “fabrication of this kind.”
While Republicans in Washington are calling for Moore to step down if the allegations are true, the truth on the ground in Alabama may be quite different. The Democrats haven’t held a seat in Senate there since 1996, and voters are focusing more on the timing of the Post’s article rather than its content, and coming four decades late but just four weeks ahead of the special election makes it all the more suspicious.
According to Paul Reynolds, the Republican National Committeeman from Alabama:
“My gosh, it’s The Washington Post. If I’ve got a choice of putting my welfare into the hands of Putin or The Washington Post, Putin wins every time. This is going to make Roy Moore supporters step up to the plate and give more, work more and pray more.”