By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
A bombshell allegation is suddenly unleashed on a populist candidate a month before the general election, women come forward with tales of misconduct, outraged media and GOP establishment types who never supported the nominee all demand that the nominee drop out of the race for the good of the party.
We all lived through this once; when an unflattering video of Donald Trump was released and the political world went into carefully orchestrated shock and outrage.
Thursday the exact same D.C. playbook was used. This time against Roy Moore. On Thursday, The Washington Post unleashed their journalistic broadside against the Moore campaign just when a new poll by Strategy Research commissioned by Raycom showed Moore easily cruising to a victory by 11 points over Doug Jones 51 to 49.
This time a 53-year-old woman claims that she went on a date with Moore in 1979, when Moore was a single 32-year-old attorney and she was just 14 years old. The Etowah County woman claims that Moore took her shirt off and removed her pants and touched her underwear. She did not want to go further so shut it down. She does not allege that Moore raped her, but she was underage. Three other women also were identified in the article saying that they went out with a young Moore when they were underage; but there was no sexual activity beyond kissing.
After the allegations against Trump were revealed 13 months ago, establishment Republicans including Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and Ohio Gov. John Kasich condemned Trump and demanded that he step aside. There were similar calls for Moore to step aside on Thursday.
Shortly after the revelations, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said, “If these allegations are true, he must step aside.”
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said, “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 are proud of.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said, “I’m horrified and if this is true he needs to step down immediately.”
Murkowski said that she also said she has spoken to U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., about becoming a write-in challenge, ultimately challenging Moore in the Dec. 12 election.
Strange told a Buzzfeed reporter, “”It’s a very, very disturbing report. That’s all I have to say. I’ve just seen it and I’ll have more to say.”
Strange refused to rule out re-entering the race, when he talked with the Associated Press Thursday night. “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.”
The governor can not cancel the special election and set a new one. The Secretary of State’s office said that it is too late for the Alabama Republican Party to change candidates on the ballot. ALGOP could disavow Moore as the Republican nominee. If that were to happen and if Moore still won then the Secretary of State’s office would have to decertify the results. Gov. Kay Ivey could then set a whole new special election. Efforts by the Alabama Republican Party to reach out to members of the state Steering Committee for what they plan to do failed; but one Republican operative said that that would be career ending for any steering committee member that tried.
The Roy Moore Campaign responded to the carefully planned attack as “yet another baseless political attack by the Washington Post, a paper that has endorsed Judge Moore’s opponent.”
Moore campaign chair Bill Armistead said in a statement on Thursday:
“Judge Roy Moore has endured the most outlandish attacks on any candidate in the modern political arena, but this story in today’s Washington Post alleging sexual impropriety takes the cake,” Armistead said. “National liberal organizations know their chosen candidate Doug Jones is in a death spiral, and this is their last ditch Hail Mary. The Washington Post has already endorsed the Judge’s opponent, and for months, they have engaged in a systematic campaign to distort the truth about the Judge’s record and career and derail his campaign. In fact, just two days ago, the Foundation for Moral Law sent a retraction demand to the Post for the false stories they wrote about the Judge’s work and compensation. But apparently, there is no end to what the Post will allege.”
“The Judge has been married to Kayla for nearly 33 years, has 4 children, and 5 grandchildren,” Armistead said. “He has been a candidate in four hotly-contested statewide political contests, twice as a gubernatorial candidate and twice as a candidate for chief justice. He has been a three-time candidate for local office, and he has been a national figure in two ground-breaking, judicial fights over religious liberty and traditional marriage. After over 40 years of public service, if any of these allegations were true, they would have been made public long before now.”
“Judge Roy Moore is winning with a double-digit lead,” Armistead continued. “So it is no surprise, with just over four weeks remaining, in a race for the U.S. Senate with national implications, that the Democratic Party and the country’s most liberal newspaper would come up with a fabrication of this kind. This garbage is the very definition of fake news and intentional defamation.”
On Thursday, Moore called the allegations by the Post “completely false and a desperate political attack.”
The Alabama Political Reporter is still investigating the charges against Moore.