Last week there was little doubt that Judge Roy Moore would soon become the next Senator from Alabama. However, that suddenly seems much less certain.
It all started last week when four women came out accusing the conservative Christian firebrand of inappropriate or unwanted sexual advances when Moore was in his 30s and the girls were teenagers. One specifically, Leigh Corfman, cited an incident of inappropriate touching when she was only 14. As expected, Moore and his supporters began a smear campaign to discredit the victims. Some also took the more unexpected route of claiming that the Bible supports such relations.
On Monday, Beverly Young Nelson came forward saying that Moore had groped her in her car. Notably, she also presented a high school yearbook with a strange and inappropriate inscription signed by Moore. Tina Johnson then came forward on Wednesday claiming that Moore had also groped her while they were in his office. Wednesday also brought two more accusations from Gena Richardson, who claimed the judge took her out on a date and kissed her when she was in high school, and Becky Gray, who complained about his constant and unshakeable presence. Both girls worked at the Gadsden Mall and others have come forward saying that Moore was unofficially banned from shopping center due to his troubling behavior.
While Republicans in Alabama are still standing by Moore, other members of the GOP at large have begun distancing themselves. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have both said that they believe Moore’s accusers. Arizona Senator Jeff Flake endorsed Democrat Doug Jones and others have called for Moore to step down. However, Moore shows no sign of backing down and, according to Alabama law, it is too late to have his name taken off the ballot.
Even with the support of some high-profile Alabama Republicans, Moore’s numbers are slipping the polls. He is currently trailing Jones by 12 points, according to polling done on Sunday and Monday. Notably, those polling numbers include the first wave of accusers, but do not take into the account the new accusations from later this week. Does this mean that the election may actually be up for grabs? Could Alabama, one of the ruby red jewels of the GOP’s Southern collection, potentially go blue? With the special election less than a month away, it seems like anything is possible.
Check out our podcast episode on the Alabama Senate race, featuring Alabamian reporter John Archibald.