With cam­paign in peril, Moore tries to dis­credit ac­cusers

Alabama gover­nor re­fuses to post­pone next month’s elec­tion

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - NATION - By Alan Blin­der and Jonathan Martin

GADS­DEN, Ala. — Roy Moore, the em­bat­tled Repub­li­can Se­nate nom­i­nee in Alabama, moved Satur­day to dis­credit the women who ac­cused him of sex­ual mis­con­duct, and his party’s most pow­er­ful fig­ures be­came in­creas­ingly des­per­ate to end a cam­paign that they wor­ried would un­der­mine their can­di­dates na­tion­wide.

Moore won at least one bat­tle in his ef­forts to sal­vage his can­di­dacy — Gov. Kay Ivey re­buffed calls that she post­pone next month’s elec­tion, which could leave Repub­li­cans with a nar­rower ma­jor­ity in Wash­ing­ton — but his sup­port­ers and de­trac­tors alike be­lieved his cam­paign re­mained in jeop­ardy.

“Peo­ple have waited un­til four weeks prior to the gen­eral elec­tion to bring their com­plaints,” Moore, 70, said dur­ing a Veterans Day event in Ves­tavia Hills, near Birm­ing­ham. “That’s not a co­in­ci­dence — it’s an in­ten­tional act to stop a cam­paign.”

Moore has de­nied the al­le­ga­tions the Wash­ing­ton Post pub­lished Thurs­day, in­clud­ing that he mo­lested a 14-year-old girl, Leigh Corf­man, when he was 32. “I have not been guilty of sex­ual mis­con­duct with any­one,” Moore said.

He won ap­plause at the event Satur­day when he said it was “un­be­liev­able” that a “grown woman would come for­ward” about 40 years after she said the over­tures took place, and this close to the elec­tion to fill the seat At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions held un­til this year.

Although many of Moore’s sup­port­ers in Alabama share his fury, Repub­li­cans have been aban­don­ing Moore since the Post pub­lished its ar­ti­cle, which in­cluded al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual ad­vances from three other women.

In Wash­ing­ton, Repub­li­cans pleaded for Trump, who en­dorsed Moore’s op­po­nent, Sen. Luther Strange, in the pri­mary, to in­ter­vene.

But tak­ing ques­tions from re­porters aboard Air Force One as he flew to Hanoi, Viet­nam, Trump sig­naled he was re­luc­tant to rein­sert him­self in the same Alabama race where his en­dorse­ment was so thor­oughly dis­re­garded in Septem­ber.

Corf­man said Satur­day that a firestorm of cri­ticism from Moore’s sup­port­ers had not de­terred her.

“I stand by my story,” she said.

Wes Frazer / Getty Im­ages

Roy Moore called sex­ual ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions “an in­ten­tional act to stop a cam­paign.”

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