Roy Moore went on the offense on Thursday, accusing Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of seeking to undermine his campaign to become the next U.S. Senator from Alabama. Speaking at a rally in Birmingham, Moore said “Many of you have recognized that this is an effort by Mitch McConnell and his cronies to steal this election from the people of Alabama.” Moore was apparently referring to McConnell’s calls on the former Alabama supreme court judge to step out of the race. At the rally, Moore said, “I want to tell you who needs to step down. That's Mitch McConnell.”

“I've taken a stand in the past, I'll take a stand in the future and I'll quit standing when they lay me in that box and put me in the ground,” said the defiant Moore.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Alabama Republican Party announced that it will not ditch Moore as the party’s nominee. This is despite Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who said he will not support his fellow Republican, thus joining other Republicans such as Arizona’s Sen. Jeff Flake. State GOP Chairman Terry Lathan said in a statement that the Alabama Republican Party Steering Committee discussed the situation on Wednesday. She said her state party supports Moore “as our nominee and trusts the voters as they make the ultimate decision in this crucial race."

"Alabamians will be the ultimate jury in this election - not the media or those from afar," Lathan said.

A great deal of interest has been focused on the steering committee meeting because McConnell and other Republicans having been exploring options such as supporting a write-in candidate, such as Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is a former occupant of the seat. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told Fox News this week that the steering committee could vote to “disassociate themselves from Judge Moore and his candidacy and indicate that he is no longer their nominee.”

A Fox News poll released Thursday shows Democrat Doug Jones leading Moore by 8 points. However, the Real Clear Politics website’s averaging of polls shows that Moore leads Jones by 4 points. 

On Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders suggested that President Donald Trump will not join McConnell to force Moore out of the race. “The president believes these allegations are very troubling and should be taken seriously,” Sanders said. “He thinks the people of Alabama should decide who the senator should be.” Trump supported incumbent Sen. Luther Strange in the Republican primary that Moore won in October.

A possible option that has been floating around is to involve Senator Strange, who lost to Moore in the primary, by getting him to resign before the December 12 election so that Gov. Kay Ivey (R) could appoint someone to the seat. Based on that theory, the governor would then cancel or postpone the special election. However, a report by a local news outlet indicates that she does not envision doing so. “The election date is set for Dec. 12,” Ivey told AL.com. “Were he to resign, I would simply appoint somebody to fill the remaining time until we have the election on Dec. 12.”

In a series of tweets Thursday, Moore attacked McConnell for working against him, while mentioning the growing accusations of sexual harassment being laid at the feet of Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota. Moore also called on celebrity attorney Gloria Allred to release a high school yearbook for an independent handwriting analysis. Her client had offered the yearbook as evidence that she knew Moore at the time that is alleged to have sexually assaulted her. Allred has refused to release it.
 



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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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