Republicans are exploring ways to get embattled Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore’s name off the ballot, including floating the possibility of changing the date of next month’s special election, in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore.
Some party members are reportedly considering getting Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) to move the date of the Dec. 12 special election to early next year, according to The New York Times. Based on Alabama law, it’s too late to remove Moore’s name from the ballot.
Moore, a former state Supreme Court chief justice, is facing wide backlash over allegations of sexual misconduct involving a 14-year-old girl in 1979, when he was 32 years old.
Moore has vehemently denied the allegations, saying on Sean Hannity’s radio show Friday that they’re “completely false and misleading.” Moore also said he’s not withdrawing his name from the race.
Ivey previously changed the date of Alabama’s special election, moving it up nearly a year earlier after then-Gov. Robert Bentley (R) resigned amid a sex scandal.
But it’s still unclear if the governor has the power to move the special election about a month before voters are set to head to the polls in a race pitting Moore against Democrat Doug Jones.
According to the Times, Ivey hasn't ruled out moving the date again and indicated that she wants support from the White House first.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) told The Hill that he does not know whether the governor would have the power to change the date and voiced the unlikelihood of it, given that some people have already cast a ballot.
"It's almost like saying: Let's play a football game with four quarters, but after the third quarter, let's suspend," Merrill said on Friday.
"I think the scenario you are introducing for me to comment on is highly improbable for this reason: we have people who have already voted in this election. Military servicemen and women have voted, absentee voters have already voted. There are hundreds of people who have expressed their preference on the race."
Merrill added that he found the idea "unusual" but noted that the governor has not reached out to him or his office to discuss whether she can change the date.
While Moore insists he is staying in the race, there’s a growing chorus of Republican lawmakers and leaders who are calling on him to step aside. Still, most have not called for him to immediately withdraw, arguing instead that he must drop out if the allegations are true.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate GOP's campaign arm, sent the strongest signal following the allegations. The committee on Friday removed its name from a joint fundraising committee to help fundraise for Moore along with the Republican National Committee and the Alabama Republican Party.
Even if Moore decided to drop out of the race, his name would still appear on the ballot. If he did that and still won the December special election, the victory wouldn't be certified and another special election would be held.
Some Republicans such as Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiRepublican leaders misjudged Jan. 6 committee Trump endorses GOP challenger to Upton over impeachment vote Businesses want Congress to support safe, quality jobs — so do nearly all Americans MORE (R-Alaska) have floated a write-in candidacy, proposing Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangePandemic proves importance of pharmaceutical innovation The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Trump faces test of power with early endorsements MORE (R-Ala.), who lost in the GOP primary runoff to Moore. Murkowski mounted her own successful write-in campaign in her 2010 Senate race.