By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby cemented his opposition to Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore on Sunday saying that he “couldn’t vote for Moore.”
The senator appeared on the CNN program “State of the Union” to to discuss the election with host Jake Tapper. In the interview, he said he would like to see a Republican win Tuesday’s race but said he wouldn’t like it to be Moore.
“I couldn’t vote for Roy Moore,” Shelby said talking about his absentee ballot. “I didn’t vote for Roy Moore. But I wrote in a distinguished Republican name. And I think a lot of people could do that. Will they do it? I’m not sure.”
Shelby is just one of a few senators that have condemned Moore for allegations of sexual misconduct first reported by the Washington Post in November. The allegations are that Moore pursued relationships with teenagers while he was in his 30s and sexually assaulted three women over a number of years.
The Moore campaign denied all the allegations both reported by the Washington Post and the few women who have come forward alleging sexual misconduct since the report was first published. The campaign said the women coming forward and the report from the Washington Post are all a part of a coordinated effort to discredit Moore’s candidacy.
After the report was published, many influential members of the GOP distanced themselves from Moore.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called for Moore’s withdraw less than a week after the report saying he had no reason to doubt the women making the allegations. At one point, nearly half of the GOP senators were calling for Moore’s withdraw in some fashion.
Stateside, Moore enjoyed a flurry of support from state lawmakers and influential members in the state government. Alabama Chairman Terry Lathan squashed any attempts at opposing Moore threatening expulsion from the party for any of those who attempted a write-in campaign.
His base of evangelical Republicans –a key factor in his Primary victory–also stood by him with 71 percent of Alabama Republicans saying they didn’t believe the allegations against Moore, according to a CBS/YouGov poll.
The stalemate between the state party and the national GOP was broken in November when President Donald Trump, who had remained silent on the race, endorsed the Senate hopeful over Twitter.
Trump, who failed to accomplish most of his agenda through legislation, cited Moore’s vote on critical issues like the Border wall, immigration, and the tax reform, which narrowly passed the Senate early this month.
The president’s endorsement of Moore also lead to the RNC, which had previously cut a fundraising venture with Moore, to support Moore financially with thousands of dollars flowing to Alabama in the closing days of the race.
But the president’s support of Moore also lead to a backlash from GOP senators.
Over the weekend Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado told the Weekly Standard his position hadn’t changed on Moore’s candidacy. Gardner had called on Moore to withdraw and said Moore would be expelled if he did win the race. Gardner controls the Senate fundraising wing of the GOP and said that Moore would not be receiving support despite the RNC’s commitment to Moore.
Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake announced over Twitter that he had written a check for Moore’s opponent Doug Jones. The senator tweeted “Country over Party” to accommodate the tweet.
Moore and Jones will go head-to-head tomorrow to decide who will succeed Jeff Sessions who was appointed to U.S. attorney general by Trump. Polls show a contested race but lean in Moore’s favor.