Moore sex abuse claims rock GOP

Alabama Se­nate seat at stake

Boston Herald - - NEWS - By KIM­BERLY ATKINS — kim­berly.atkins@boston­her­ald.com

WASHINGTON — New al­le­ga­tions against GOP U.S. Se­nate can­di­date Roy Moore rocked Washington yes­ter­day, cost­ing him nearly all sup­port from Repub­li­can law­mak­ers and caus­ing some to openly call for Moore to be stripped of his seat if he wins the elec­tion. But the Alabama Repub­li­can, who was fa­vored to eas­ily win be­fore al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual con­tact with a mi­nor and sev­eral other girls sur­faced last week, still poses a po­lit­i­cal co­nun­drum to Se­nate Repub­li­cans re­gard­less of whether they sup­ported him be­fore the al­le­ga­tions.

They need Moore to win the elec­tion to keep their slim, but con­se­quen­tial, ma­jor­ity in Congress’ up­per cham­ber. But that vic­tory would be fleet­ing. Law­mak­ers, most of whom re­nounced sup­port for Moore yes­ter­day, would then be forced to try to ex­pel Moore and re­place him with an­other Repub­li­can, rather than em­brace a man ac­cused of sex­u­ally prey­ing on mi­nors for the sake of party unity.

Even if that ex­tra­or­di­nary move is suc­cess­ful — no sit­ting se­na­tor has been ex­pelled since the Civil War — the back­lash from vo­cal Moore sup­porter Steve Ban­non and other mem­bers of that wing of the Repub­li­can Party would cause its in­ter­nal di­vi­sions to burst into an all-out civil war. If scor­ing leg­isla­tive vic­to­ries was dif­fi­cult with such a slim mar­gin be­fore, it would be­come nearly im­pos­si­ble.

If Moore loses the elec­tion, the Repub­li­cans’ two-seat ma­jor­ity in the Se­nate would be cut in half. Some in the party see that as the best-case sce­nario.

“If the choice is be­tween Roy Moore and a Demo­crat, I would run to the polling place to vote for the Demo­crat,” Ari­zona U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake tweeted mo­ments af­ter mak­ing sim­i­lar com­ments to re­porters on Capi­tol Hill.

Flake and a num­ber of other GOP sen­a­tors, in­clud­ing the head of the Se­nate GOP cam­paign arm, Colorado U.S. Sen. Cory Gard­ner, back ex­pul­sion. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions, whose seat Moore is seek­ing to fill, along with U.S. Sen. Luther Strange and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, both of whom Moore beat in the pri­mary, are all be­ing floated as po­ten­tial re­place­ments.

The dra­matic shift came af­ter Bev­erly Young Nel­son yes­ter­day al­leged that when she was 16, Moore of­fered her a ride home, but locked the car door when she tried to exit. She claimed Moore then groped her breasts and at­tempted to force her to per­form a sex act on him.

“At some point, he gave up. And he then looked at me, and he told me — he said, ‘You’re just a child.’ And he said, ‘I am the dis­trict at­tor­ney of Etowah County, and if you tell any­one about this, no one will ever be­lieve you.’ ”

Nel­son said she knew Moore be­cause he fre­quented the restau­rant where she worked, and even signed her year­book: “To a sweeter more beau­ti­ful girl I could not say Merry Christ­mas. Christ­mas 1977. Love, Roy Moore, D.A.”

Moore de­nied the al­le­ga­tions to re­porters last night.

“This is ab­so­lutely false,” Moore said. “I never did what she said I did. I don’t even know the woman.”

AP PHO­TOS

NEW AL­LE­GA­TIONS: Bev­erly Young Nel­son is the lat­est woman ac­cus­ing Alabama U.S. Se­nate can­di­date Roy Moore of sex­ual abuse.

ROY MOORE

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