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King appears to back Moore, digs critical senators as unhelpful to Trump

Griffin Connolly, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Steve King signaled support for Roy Moore in a tweet late Thursday, saying the senators who were distancing themselves from the Alabama GOP Senate candidate's campaign were the ones "who won't or can't help move (President Donald Trump's) agenda."

The Washington Post published a story Thursday citing four women who said Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 14 and 18, between 1979 and 1981, when Moore worked as a district attorney. One woman said she was 14 years old when Moore removed her clothes and attempted to have her touch his genitals.

In his tweet, King linked to a story from Breitbart News that listed Republican senators who have fallen out of favor with far-right circles -- Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, Arizona's Jeff Flake, Susan Collins of Maine, and Ohio's Rob Portman -- who condemned the allegations against Moore.

King's office could not be reached for comment on the allegations against Moore.

Most GOP federal lawmakers who have commented have said if the allegations were true, they would drop their support of Moore.

"If these allegations are true, he must step aside," McConnell said Thursday.

"If these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday.

Moore rose to prominence in the early 2000s as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. He was twice removed from the bench for defying a federal order to remove a Ten Commandments statue from the courthouse, and for refusing to honor the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

He vehemently denied the allegations in a series of statements Thursday, calling the Post report "fake news."

"The forces of evil will lie, cheat, steal -- even inflict physical harm -- if they believe it will silence and shut up Christian conservatives like you and me," Moore said in a fundraising email Thursday after the Post report was published.

It's too late for the state GOP to replace Moore's name on the ballot because it's now within 76 days of the election and ballots are already printed. The party could withdraw its nomination, or Moore himself could withdraw from the race. Moore's name would still appear on the ballot, and he theoretically would still receive votes. But those votes wouldn't count as official votes and Moore could not be certified as a victor.

The only way for a new name to appear on the ballot at this point is through a write-in campaign, confirmed John Bennett, deputy chief of staff to the Alabama secretary of state.

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