Roy Moore doesn't need Senate Republicans; he has Trump

Not even Alabama's Republican senator voted for Roy Moore

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published December 11, 2017 9:03AM (EST)

Roy Moore (AP/Brynn Anderson)
Roy Moore (AP/Brynn Anderson)

Roy Moore seems to be banking on the assumption that, despite the ongoing opposition he faces from many of his Senate colleagues, he will win the Alabama Senate election with the support of one person: President Donald Trump.

The man who will serve with Moore as one of Alabama's two senators if he is elected — Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. — told CNN on Sunday that he had written in his absentee ballot for another Republican candidate rather than cast his vote for Moore.

"I couldn’t vote for Roy Moore. I didn’t vote for Roy Moore. But I wrote in a distinguished Republican name. And I think a lot of people could do that. The state of Alabama deserves better," Shelby told CNN's "State of the Union."

When asked about whether he believed the multiple women who have accused Moore of sexual misconduct, Shelby replied, "There’s a lot of smoke. Got to be some fire somewhere."

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, echoed Shelby's thoughts in a statement to The Weekly Standard.

"Roy Moore will never have the support of the senatorial committee. We will never endorse him. We won’t support him. I won’t let that happen. Nothing will change. I stand by my previous statement," Gardner said.

Yet the ongoing opposition of establishment Republicans like Shelby and Gardner may not be enough to keep Moore out of the Senate. When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asked Trump for help in convincing Moore to drop out of the Senate race, the president instead took Moore's side, asking about the women's motives and why they would remain quiet for decades and only report their stories until shortly before the election, according to Politico. Trump has also released a robocall for Moore in Alabama, describing him as essential for pushing Trump's agenda on issues like crime, immigration, abortion and taxes.

Moore's candidacy has endured, despite not only the sexual misconduct accusations against him, but also other controversial behavior both recent and past. He spent Saturday at the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia, despite that game occurring only three days before the special election.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Cory Gardner Donald Trump Mitch Mcconnell Richard Shelby Roy Moore