Moore–whose candidacy is disturbing for many other reasons as well–denies the accusations, made in the Washington Post (link here).
He claims it is just smear tactics by the WaPo and the Democrats.
Unfortunately for Moore (and the Republicans), the Post article names four separate accusers. No anonymous charges.
No one says they had coitus with Moore.
Three of the four say the encounters were only kissing. One says Moore provided alcohol, though she was underage.
The most overt sexual encounter was between 32-year-old Moore and 14-year-old Leigh Corfman:
Of the four women, the youngest at the time was Corfman, who is the only one who says she had sexual contact with Moore that went beyond kissing. She says they did not have intercourse.
In a written statement, Moore denied the allegations.
“These allegations are completely false and are a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign,” Moore, now 70, said.
The campaign said in a subsequent statement that if the allegations were true they would have surfaced during his previous campaigns, adding “this garbage is the very definition of fake news.” –Washington Post
Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), said the obvious: Moore should step aside if the allegations are true. (The Hill)
Alabama laws complicate any effort to step aside.
It’s unclear whether the Alabama state party will stand by the nominee, but Alabama law bars any candidate from withdrawing their name within 76 days of an election. That could present a situation where Moore’s name is on the ballot but he cannot be certified the winner if he wins, according to Alabama state law. –The Hill
The legal status of a write-in candidate is unclear, according to The Hill.
In short, this scandal involves
- Serious allegations
- Multiple named sources
- Denial by Moore
- No easy solutions for the Republicans, even if Moore withdraws
Comment: With such a thin majority in the Senate, the Republicans’ loss here would imperil their already-tottering legislative program.
Moore was a terrible candidate before this. Rude, crude, and utterly ignorant of policy issues, as I wrote about him after he won the Republican primary (link here). Of course, I knew nothing then about these disturbing allegations, which seem credible.
This story will move rapidly, I’m sure. It’s cannot sit where it is now, after the Post story. Others will investigate, and the pressure on Moore will be enormous.