Alabama Republican Party stands by Roy Moore despite child sex abuse claims

The 70-year-old has denied the claims

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Friday 17 November 2017 00:03 GMT
Mr Moore and his wife have claimed he is the victim of a witch hunt
Mr Moore and his wife have claimed he is the victim of a witch hunt (AP)

The Alabama Republican Party has announced it is standing by beleaguered candidate Roy Moore - all but ensuring it will contest next month’s senate election with a candidate facing allegations of sexual misconduct from at least nine women.

After the White House said Donald Trump believed the people of Alabama should decide Mr Moore’s future - putting him at odds with the Republican leadership in Washington who have called for him to stand down - the state party said it was continuing to support the former judge, who has denied the allegations dating back many decades.

“On Wednesday evening, the Alabama Republican Party Steering Committee, comprised of 21 members, met to discuss the events and circumstances regarding the December 12 US Senate race,” said Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan.

“The ALGOP Steering Committee supports Judge Roy Moore as our nominee and trusts the voters as they make the ultimate decision in this crucial race.”

She added: “Judge Moore has vehemently denied the allegations made against him. He deserves to be presumed innocent of the accusations unless proven otherwise. He will continue to take his case straight to the people of Alabama.”

Mr Moore, 70, who earned international headlines after he installed a 5,000lb granite statue bearing the Ten Commandments in his Montgomery court compound, has denied the accusations against him, even as more women have come forward to accuse him of abuse and inappropriate behaviour. One woman said she was assaulted by Mr Moore when she was aged 14 and he was aged in his 30s and working as a local prosecutor.

Fox News host Sean Hannity on Roy Moore: "For me, the judge has 24 hours"

While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have called on Mr Moore to step aside, Mr Trump, who himself backed Mr Moore’s rival Luther Strange in a September Republican primary, has sought to remain on the edges of the controversy.

“The President believes that these allegations are very troubling and should be taken seriously, and he thinks that the people of Alabama should make the decision on who their next senator should be,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said at a news briefing.

“The President said in his statement earlier this week that if the allegations are true, then Roy Moore should step aside. He still firmly believes that.”

On Thursday, Mr Moore held his own press conference and again rejected the allegations that have been levelled against him as unsubstantiated, unproven and fake.

“They’re not only untrue, but they have no evidence to support them,” he said, according to Reuters.

According to internal polling conducted by the Senate Republican campaign arm and seen by the Associated Press, Ms Moore trails Democrat Doug Jones by 12 points - 39-51. By contrast, Mr Moore led by nine points the week before,

Such is the desperation of national Republican leaders, they have been hatching unlikely plots to try and stop Mr Moore. One proposal was to call on Mr Strange to resign, possibly triggering another special election, though this suggestion was denounced by the state’s governor.

Another idea was to promote a so-called “write-in candidate”, and encourage voters to write that candidate’s name on the ballot paper.

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