By Ryan Teague Beckwith
November 14, 2017

The controversy over Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore has put Republican senators in a bind.

The former state Supreme Court justice had already been accused by four women of pursuing romantic relationships with them when he was in his 30s and they were teens, including one who said he initiated sexual contact. A fifth woman has now also accused Moore of sexual assaulting her when she was a teen. Some Alabama residents have said it was “common knowledge” that he pursued teens.

Moore denies the allegations and has said he intends to continue running.

So far, Moore has few defenders among Republicans currently serving in the Senate. But lawmakers have taken varying stances on how far they’d go to oppose his election, from saying he should drop out if the allegations are true, to withdrawing their endorsement, to recommending he be expelled from the Senate if elected.

No current Republican senator has called for Moore to stay in the race.

Here’s a roundup of how all 52 Republican senators have responded.

No comment about Roy Moore: Sens. Tom Cotton, Mike Crapo, Deb Fischer and John Kennedy

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton (Pool)

Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Deb Fischer of Nebraska and John Kennedy of Louisiana have not yet commented, according to a roundup by ABC News.

Not withdrawing his endorsement of Moore: Sen. Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul (Getty Images)
Getty Images)

Rand Paul of Kentucky, who endorsed Moore, is the only Republican senator who has not yet withdrawn his endorsement. Paul was seriously injured earlier this month after an attack by a neighbor. He has not made any comment yet.

Saying Moore’s fate is up to the voters: Sen. Luther Strange

Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., leaves a vote in the Capitol on July 27, 2017.
Sen. Luther Strange (CQ-Roll Call)

Luther Strange of Alabama, who lost to Moore in the primary, said: “These allegations are very serious. We learned more today. It’s really going to be up to the people of my state to try to make sense of this and decide how they want to proceed.”

Calling for Moore to withdraw if the allegations are true: Sen. Marco Rubio and 24 others

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Sen. Marco Rubio (Alex Brandon—AP

Marco Rubio of Florida: “Today’s report in The Washington Post raises allegations against Mr. Moore that are deeply disturbing and, if true, disqualifying.”

Richard Burr of North Carolina: “If any aspect of The Washington Post story is true, he should do the right thing and withdraw.”

Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia: “If the allegations reported in The Washington Post are true, Roy Moore should immediately step aside.”

Lamar Alexander of Tennessee: “If these disturbing allegations are true, Roy Moore should withdraw from the Senate race.”

John Barrasso of Wyoming: “These charges seem very credible, they’re very disturbing. If true, he should move aside.”

John Boozman of Arkansas: “He believes that if the allegations are true, Roy Moore should step aside — no ifs, and/or buts about it.”

Roy Blunt of Missouri: “The women have a more credible story than Judge Moore. Alabama voters should have a better choice and Judge Moore should have better answers to these charges.”

Mike Enzi of Wyoming: “Sen. Enzi does believe that if the allegations are true that Roy Moore should step aside from the race.”

Similar statements have been made by Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven, Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, Kansas Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts, Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, Georgia Sen. David Perdue, Idaho Sen. James Risch, South Dakota Sens. Mike Rounds and John Thune, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, and Mississippi Sens. Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran, according to the roundup by ABC News.

Withdrawing their endorsements of Moore: Sens. Ted Cruz, John Cornyn, Mike Lee, Bill Cassidy and Steve Daines

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, leaves the Capitol on Sept. 12, 2017.
Sen. Ted Cruz (CQ Roll Call)

Ted Cruz of Texas: “I am not able to urge the people of Alabama to support his candidacy so long as these allegations remain unrefuted. Both last week and this week, there are serious charges of criminal conduct that, if true, not only make him unfit to serve in the Senate but merit criminal prosecution.”

Texas Sen. John Cornyn: “I believe the accusations against Roy Moore are disturbing and, if true, disqualifying. The most appropriate course of action, in my view, is to leave the final judgment in the hands of Alabama voters — where it has always belonged — and withdraw my endorsement.”

Mike Lee of Utah: “Having read the detailed description of the incidents, as well as the response from Judge Moore and his campaign, I can no longer endorse his candidacy for the US Senate.”

Bill Cassidy of Louisiana: “Based on the allegations against Roy Moore, his response and what is known, I withdraw support.”

Steve Daines of Montana: “I am pulling my endorsement and support for Roy Moore for U.S. Senate.”

Calling for Moore to withdraw: Sen. Mitch McConnell and seven others

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Sen. Mitch McConnell (Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: “I believe the women … he should step aside.”

John McCain of Arizona: “The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying. He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of.”

Susan Collins of Maine: “I have now read Mr. Moore’s statement and listened to his radio interview in which he denies the charges. I did not find his denials to be convincing and believe that he should withdraw from the Senate race in Alabama.”

Lindsey Graham of South Carolina: “In light of the most recent allegations and the cumulative effect of others, I believe #RoyMoore would be doing himself, the state, the GOP, and the country a service by stepping aside.”

Chuck Grassley of Iowa: “He should step aside. The trouble is, if he agreed to step aside, his name is still on the ballot. People can still vote for him and he could get elected.”

Bob Corker of Tennessee: “Look, I’m sorry, but even before these reports surfaced, Roy Moore’s nomination was a bridge too far.”

Thom Tillis of North Carolina: “The allegations leveled at Roy Moore are disturbing. I have serious concerns about his prior conduct and fitness for office. He should immediately withdraw from the race.”

Rob Portman of Ohio: “I think if what we read is true, and people are on the record so I assume it is, then he should step aside.”

Recommending Alabama write-in someone else: Sens. Orrin Hatch, Pat Toomey and Ben Sasse

Sen. Orrin Hatch (Reuters)
Joshua Roberts—Reuters

Orrin Hatch of Utah: “These are serious and disturbing accusations, and while the decision is now in the hands of the people of Alabama, I believe Luther Strange is an excellent alternative.”

Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania: “From my point of view, you know, I have to say, I think the accusations have more credibility than the denial. I think it would be best if Roy would just step aside.”

Ben Sasse of Nebraska: “The Post’s story is appalling and heartbreaking. If there’s an ounce of truth to any of this, Roy Moore has no place in public life and ought to drop out immediately. Alabamians should start thinking about who they’ll write in but it’s obvious that conservatives deserve better than this.”

Recommending Alabama vote for Democrat Doug Jones instead of Moore: Sen. Jeff Flake

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Sen. Jeff Flake (Getty Images

Jeff Flake of Arizona: “If this choice is between Roy Moore and a Democrat, a Democrat. … I would literally — if I were in Alabama — I would run to the polling place to vote for the Democrat.”

Calling to remove Moore from the Senate if he’s elected: Sens. Cory Gardner and Todd Young

Cory Gardner: The Colorado Senator showed how Republicans can win in a purple state in 2014 by countering attempts to paint him as unsupportive of women's concerns. When the dust from the GOP primary settles, the eventual presidential candidate may follow his lead.
Sen. Cory Gardner (CQ-Roll Call)

Cory Gardner of Colorado: “If he refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should vote to expel him, because he does not meet the ethical and moral requirements of the United States Senate.”

Todd Young of Indiana: “The appearance of grossly reprehensible behavior disqualifies him from service in the United States Senate. If he does not step aside, we need to act to protect the integrity of the Senate.”

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