Sabato: Alabama Senate race now leans Democratic

Sabato: Alabama Senate race now leans Democratic

Nonpartisan election handicapper Larry Sabato has moved the rating for Alabama's special Senate election in favor of Democrats in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against GOP nominee Roy Moore.

Sabato, who leads the University of Virginia's Crystal Ball, has changed the race from a toss-up as national Republicans pull their support and call on Moore to step aside.

Moore is set to square off against Democratic nominee Doug Jones on Dec. 12 in the race to replace Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDOJ should take action against China's Twitter propaganda Lewandowski says he's 'happy' to testify before House panel The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy MORE.

Ahead of the GOP primary in August, Sabato had rated the race safe Republican. After the September runoff when Moore defeated Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeGOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries Roy Moore trails Republican field in Alabama The Hill's Morning Report — US strikes approved against Iran pulled back MORE, he changed it to likely Republican.

"The GOP may find a way out of this mess, but the party — thanks to Roy Moore — is on the verge of blowing what was once a sure thing," Sabato tweeted about the ratings change.

Moore has denied the allegations that he initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32 and said he has never met a woman who says he sexually assaulted her when she was 16. He has said he's going to remain in the race, despite mounting pressure to drop out.  


Some Republicans have floated the prospect of a write-in campaign and others have considered expulsion from the Senate if Moore wins.

National Democrats are growing cautiously optimistic about the race, though they remain reluctant to invest in it, arguing that Jones wouldn't benefit from being associated with Washington. 

Some recent polls indicate that Jones has closed the gap with Moore, and others show him with a major lead. A poll from the Senate GOP's campaign arm released Wednesday shows Moore down by 12 points.