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GOP Senators call on Moore to resign outright; one says Moore may be expelled

Roy Moore is surrounded by supporters and media after leaving the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery, Ala., on Thursday October 27, 2016 as the lottery is held to pick the judges who will hear his appeal.

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., made his position on Roy Moore clear Monday by calling on the Republican U.S. Senate candidate to step down immediately.

The Washington Post published a report last week that said Moore had dated high school age girls in his 30s when he was an assistant district attorney. It also alleged that Moore sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl in 1979.

On Monday, a fifth woman has come forward saying Moore pursued a sexual relationship with her when she was 16.

Moore’s campaign has denied every allegation of the report.

McConnell’s previous stance was encouraging Moore to step down if the allegations were true.

The majority leader and other U.S. senators took this stance in the immediate aftermath, but as more information comes out, the calls for Moore to step down outright increases.

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Nine Republican senators have called on Moore to step down. Among them include influential Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona; Jeff Flake, R-Arizona; Bob Corker, R-Tenn.; and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

U.S. Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Steven Daines, R-Montana, have revoked their endorsements to Moore.

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., who manages the fundraising National Republican Senatorial Committee, released a statement calling Moore “unfit for office.” He also suggested the Senate should expel Moore if he won the December election.

“If he refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should vote to expel him, because he does not meet the ethical and moral requirements of the United States Senate,” Gardener said in the statement.

Expulsion from the Senate has only happened 15 times since the beginning of the country.

Most of them occurred during the Civil War with some U.S. senators openly supporting the Confederacy. While many have been brought up for expulsion by the Senate, the last successful expulsion was in 1862.

Expulsion takes two-thirds of senators voting to expel a member of the Senate. Since the Civil War, most senators being expelled have resigned before they faced the vote.

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Other attempts to cut off Moore’s candidacy have come in the form of write-in candidates.

Alabama GOP Chairman Terry Lathan has cracked down on such efforts by threatening to kick out members who support write-in candidates.

Mac Watson, an Independent U.S. Senate candidate, said the situation is a “untenable situation of many conscientious Republicans who are now shackled to a floundering candidate.”

“I understand that they have no choice,” Watson said. “Publicly, they have to back their candidate no matter how damaged that candidate might be. I find that sad, but that is the nature of the system. I am offering myself as an alternative. My hope is Republicans and independents that cannot in good conscience vote for Moore will, in the privacy of the voting booth, write in my name.”

Moore’s campaign has signaled that it won’t suspend Moore’s candidacy and has begun to attack The Washington Post report and Senate Republicans.

In an email to supporters, Moore’s campaign has implicated McConnell as a conspirator in a “dirty plot” against his candidacy.

“And now Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Lindsey Graham and the establishment GOP — the same Republicans who attempted to sabotage Donald Trump’s campaign — are gunning for me with everything they’ve got,” Moore’s email read.

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The email ended by calling on his supporters to donate money.

Moore defeated sitting U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., in September. He now faces Democrat Doug Jones in December.

Sam Mattison
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