Photo: Brynn Anderson / AP
Most Republicans elected to federal office have said that Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for Alabama's Senate seat, needs to withdraw from the race if the allegations that he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl in 1979 prove true. Some prominent GOPers, like Sen. John McCain and Mitt Romney, have gone a step further, calling for Moore's immediate withdrawal. But many top Republicans in Alabama have questioned the allegations against Moore and sometimes defended him.
Why it matters: It's a symptom of the hyperpartisan nature of today's political landscape, especially because many of the deflections by Alabama Republicans stated that they would never vote for a Democrat — no matter what Moore did.
The Alabama Republican officials defending Moore:
- Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill: "It's odd to me that this information has just been introduced. In all the campaigns Judge Moore has ever run before ― and he has run a lot of them, probably a dozen campaigns ― it's very, very odd to me this information has just been introduced."
- Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler: "Take the Bible. Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist. Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There's just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual."
- Alabama Rep. Ed Henry: "If they believe this man is predatory, they are guilty of allowing him to exist for 40 years. I think someone should prosecute and go after them. You can't be a victim 40 years later, in my opinion."
- Bibb County GOP Chair Jerry Pow: "I would vote for Judge Moore because I wouldn't want to vote for [Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones]. I'm not saying I support what he did."
- Covington County GOP Chairman William Blocker: "If they said she was a Hillary supporter, then she'd be more dismissed by the local voters here in the state of Alabama. You'd have to paint her as a Trump supporter to be of any credibility…"There is no option to support to support Doug Jones, the Democratic nominee. When you do that, you are supporting the entire Democrat party."
- Geneva County GOP Chair Riley Seibenhener: "Other than being with an underage person — he didn't really force himself."
- Madison County GOP Chair Sam Givhan: "I'm obviously suspicious. After all, some of these allegations are 40 years old. The man's been elected twice. Run two other times. Never came up before. Pretty amazing, the timing of this."
- Marion County GOP Chair David Hall: "I really don't see the relevance of it. He was 32. She was supposedly 14. She's not saying that anything happened other than they kissed."
- Mobile County GOP Chair John Skipper: "It does not really surprise me. I think it is a typical Democratic — Democrat — ploy to discredit Judge Moore, a sincere, honest, trustworthy individual."