With just two weeks remaining before the Alabama special election to fill former Senator Jeff Sessions’ seat, Republicans are watching what should have been an easy victory come dangerously close to slipping through their fingers. As Republican candidate and former State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore continues to remain unapologetic about his long history of predatory behavior towards teen girls, Democratic challenger Doug Jones is rising in the polls, with the potential to secure a long-shot victory and flip the seat blue.
Still, the GOP has one plan to stop that from happening — bring back the female voters that Moore is losing in the wake of his alleged fascination with teenage girls. And to do that, the right will use its best weapon: other GOP women.
If Moore loses the December 12 race, it will be because of the female voters who were understandably horrified by Moore’s actions in this highly conservative and religious state.
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“Allegations that Moore routinely pursued teenage girls and in some cases assaulted them when he was a single man in his thirties have caused Republican voters in Alabama to reassess their options. Some have decided to rally around the nominee. But others have recoiled, leaving Moore in real risk of losing his attempt to take over the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions,” reports Daily Beast. “More than any other group, it is the women of Alabama, specifically Republican women, who will be the divisive voting bloc.”
To get these women back onto the GOP’s side, the right is pulling out all the stops. The party is especially looking to other GOP women to help ease their conscience over voting in support of a predatory candidate — and the left is using similar tactics to dissuade them.
The Washington Post reports:
In the closing days of Alabama’s unexpectedly close race ahead of a special election, a battle is emerging for voters like [conservative Andrea] McCafferty: white suburban women who typically support GOP candidates but who, unlike many of their male counterparts, have become uneasy about Moore. Each side, relying at times on the candidates’ wives to make their case, is presenting female voters with an awkward choice regarding their vote Dec. 12: Stand by a man accused of making unwanted sexual advances toward teenage girls when he was in his 30s, or vote for a Democrat with liberal views on abortion and other issues and whose victory could imperil the Senate’s Republican majority.
Moore’s supporters themselves hoped to regain women’s support with a “Women for Moore” rally hosted by his wife Kayla — who Moore himself first noticed when she was 15, and he was nearly twice her age, according to reports. At the event, Moore was called a good Christian and “closest thing to a Founding Father that we have seen in our lifetime.” Oh, and the women who accused Moore were denounced as liars.
The Women for Moore rally may appeal to those who wholeheartedly back the theocratic candidate, but at this point, there are only a handful of Republicans in that ring. Instead, almost all of the right is arguing that the allegations are concerning enough to justify voting for a Democrat.
But that’s the sort of talking point that female GOP leaders like Alabama’s Republican Governor Kay Ivey, former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina and White House adviser KellyAnne Conway have employed.
“Donald Trump cares about a vote in the Senate, no more, no less,” Fiorina told Fox News Sunday, in an attempt to explain why the president vocally attacked Moore’s Democratic rival despite Moore’s own problematic background.
Conway made similar comments on Fox News as well, according to Talking Points Memo:
In that interview, Conway attacked Democratic candidate Doug Jones as “weak on crime,” “weak on borders,” and “terrible for property owners,” writes Alice Ollstein. Asked if she supported Roy Moore, who has been accused of pursuing and assaulting multiple underage girls several decades ago, she refused to answer directly, but suggested she wanted the Republican candidate to prevail. “We want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through,” she said.
With Moore and Jones virtually deadlocked in the latest polling, how female voters eventually swing on election day will likely decide the final winner on December 12. If Jones can continue to capitalize on their disgust with Moore’s past, he could very well end up the first Democratic senator from Alabama in decades.
But if the GOP can weaponize their female leaders, they may be able to hold onto that red seat for another term — and hope that they can find someone else to fill it next time.