Mitch “Machievelli” McConnell must have been burning the midnight oil to come up with this one. McConnell said Thursday that senate candidate Roy Moore should consider withdrawing in the wake of allegations of initiating a sexual encounter with a then-fourteen year old girl four decades ago. Washington Post:
“If these allegations are true, he must step aside,” McConnell said in a formal statement on behalf of all Republican senators.
Other Republican senators weighing in included Jeff Flake of Arizona, David Perdue of Georgia, John Thune of South Dakota, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Richard C. Shelby of Alabama and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called on Moore to step aside as well — and without couching his statement with “if true” language.
“The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying,” McCain said. “He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of.”
Now the sticky wicket is that it’s too late to replace Roy Moore on the ballot, if he was to withdraw; plus it’s a little hard to win an election if nobody from your party is running. But be of good cheer, these obstacles are not as insurmountable as one might think.
Under Alabama state law, the ballot cannot be changed within 76 days of an election. However, in the event of either disqualification or withdrawal, votes cast for Moore would not be certified.
In addition, state law allows write-in votes to be cast in general elections, as long as the names are for living people and written in without using a rubber stamp or stick-on label. Despite a state law barring candidates from appearing twice on ballots in the same election cycle, Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.), who lost in the primary to Moore, would be an eligible write-in candidate, said John Bennett, an official at the state secretary of state’s office.
Wouldn’t it be just wonderful if the Tortoise of Capital Hill could get what he wanted in the first place, and justify it in the name of high moral principle? Oh, that is just too totally Republican. But will it work?
Jonathan P. Gray, a Republican consultant in Alabama who is not working with any of the Senate candidates this year, was more pointed: “I think it was already perfectly well stated that no one in Alabama gives a s— what Mitch McConnell or John McCain thinks we should do.”
Uh, oh. Well, there’s that. No respect a tall for the elder statesmen of the party. But the truly noteworthy comment made was this one:
“If there’s even a shred of evidence to these accusations, Gov. Ivey and the Alabama Republican Party need to do everything in their power to remove Judge Moore from the ballot,” said Steven Law, chief executive of the Senate Leadership Fund. “There is no place in our party for sexual predators.”
Oh, no. None at all. Not the GOP.