Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama said on Monday that he did not vote for Republican candidate Roy Moore in the state's Senate special election. Moore has been beset by uncorroborated allegations of sexual misconduct, which he has forcefully denied. Shelby said on Monday, "No, no, no, I voted absentee. I didn't vote for him. I voted for a distinguished Republican write-in." Shelby spoke to reporters who had asked him if he would vote for Moore. 

Shelby did not reveal whose name he wrote on his ballot. A retired Marine colonel, Lee Busby -- a former aide to White House chief of staff John Kelly when the latter was serving in the Marines -- recently announced a write-in campaign. Additionally, Republicans such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had floated recently that they would examining a write-in campaign for incumbent Republican Sen. Luther Strange, who lost the primary to Moore.

Shelby and other Republicans senators have sought to distance themselves from Moore, who has relied on consierable grass roots support. President Donald Trump, while he supported Strange instead of Moore during the primary race, later tweeted that a victory by Doug Jones -- Moore's Democrat challenger -- would be a "disaster" for the presidential agenda in the Senate. It is now too late for Republicans to remove Moore's name from the ballot for the Dec. 12 election. 

Earlier this month, Shelby told reporters that he would "probably" write in a candidate rather than support Moore. "Well, it's not a good situation. I wish we had another candidate," Shelby said. The Alabama Republican party has continued to support Moore, however. Shelby, as did most Republicans in the Senate, endorsed Strange, who was appointed to the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in the primary. 

Jones is currently leading in the polls by less than a percentage point, according to the Real Clear Politics average.


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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.