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Most Alabama Republicans say they will vote for Roy Moore despite misconduct allegations

Most Alabama Republicans say they will vote for Roy Moore despite misconduct allegations
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MONTGOMERY, ALA. — Most Republican leaders in Alabama say they plan to vote for Roy Moore on Tuesday, despite sexual misconduct allegations against the former judge that have prompted others around the country to say he should never be allowed to join the U.S. Senate.

The accusations against Moore have left many GOP voters and leaders in a quandary. Voters face the decision of whether to vote for Moore, accused of sexual misconduct with teenagers decades ago when he was a county prosecutor, or sending Democrat Doug Jones to Washington, which would narrow the GOP’s already precarious majority in the Senate.

They also could write in a name on their ballots or simply stay home. Meanwhile, most GOP politicians in the state must run for re-election next year — where they will face Moore’s enthusiastic voting base at the polls.

State office-holders who said they intended to vote for Moore often cited the need to keep the seat in Republican hands.

In addition to Merrill, others who plan to vote for Moore include Gov. Kay Ivey; Attorney General Steve Marshall; state Auditor Jim Zeigler; Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan; state Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh; and Public Service Commissioner Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, who previously led the state GOP. Also voting for Moore are current state party head Terry Lathan and U.S. Reps. Mo Brooks of Huntsville and Robert Aderholt of Haleyville.

Doug Jones and Roy Moore are neck and neck in Alabama senate race, poll shows

The state’s most influential politician, Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, has said he wrote in a prominent Republican on his absentee ballot.

“I wrote in a distinguished Republican. I did not vote for Judge Moore, but I voted Republican,” Shelby said. His decision has played prominently in Jones ads pointing out Republicans who are not voting for their party’s nominee.

“Some serious allegations have been made and Judge Moore has vehemently denied them. Frankly, I don’t think the people of Alabama want me, any national politician, or the national news media telling them what to think or how to vote,” Byrne said in the statement. “The decision is ultimately up to the people of Alabama to evaluate the information they have before them and make an informed decision. We must respect the voters’ decision.”

“I’m staying out of it now. I think everybody knows how I feel about Judge Moore. We made our case and the voters made a different decision,” Strange told the newspaper in a video on its website.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who resigned from the Senate to join the Trump administration, declined to say how he would vote. Moore and Jones are competing for his old job.

“There have been some ads that may have suggested I endorsed a candidate, that is not so,” Sessions said. “I believe that the people of Alabama will make their own decision.”

State party loyalty rules could prohibit a GOP politician, or someone who aspires to be one, from publicly backing Moore’s opponent. The rule says anyone who openly supports another party’s nominee over a Republican could be barred from running as a Republican in the future.

Ivey said last month that she has no reason to disbelieve the women who have accused Moore and is bothered by their allegations. But Ivey, who plans to run for governor in 2018, said she will vote for Moore anyway for the sake of GOP power in Congress. Her office did not respond to a request for an updated comment.
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