The stunning allegations against Roy Moore could throw the GOP’s tax cut push into even more chaos

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
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  • A woman told The Washington Post that Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore initiated a sexual encounter when she was 14 years old and he was 32 years old.
  • Not only do these allegations call in to questions Moore’s fitness to serve in the Senate, but they could also complicate Republicans’ massive tax reform push.

On Thursday, The Washington Post published allegations by four women that Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore pursued relationships with them when they were teenagers and Moore was in his 30s.

The most serious of these allegations was an on-the-record statement from a woman named Leigh Corfman that Moore, then 32, kissed and inappropriately touched her when she was 14 years old.

First and foremost, the allegations are serious in nature on their own and have raised questions about Moore’s fitness for office, with a slew of Republican senators saying Moore should leave the race if the allegations are true.

In addition to the seriousness of the allegations, experts and analysts say that it could cause some serious problems for the GOP’s recent tax reform push.

Isaac Boltansky, an analyst at research firm Compass Point, noted that the polling Alabama was already relatively close between Moore and his Democratic competitor, Doug Jones, and the recent allegations could throw the race into flux. In the event of a win by Jones, the slim Republican Senate majority could get even slimmer.

“Notably, the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls shows Judge Moore with a 6 percentage point lead over his Democratic challenger, Doug Jones,” Boltansky wrote Friday. “If that gap closes and the Democratic nominee wins, the GOP’s margin in the Senate will narrow to 51-49, which invariably alters the tax reform calculus.”

According to Greg Valliere, chief global strategist at Horizon Investments, there as already a question whether the GOP has enough members to push through the new bill – named the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – through the chamber.

“There’s now a plausible path for Democrat Doug Jones to win the Alabama Senate race next month; a write-in campaign for defeated establishment candidate Luther Strange could throw a three-way race to the Democrat – and that would deprive the Republicans of a crucial Senate vote,” Valliere wrote in a note to clients Monday. “With Rand Paul ailing and Bob Corker and Jeff Flake wavering, Republicans already were worrying that Mike Pence might have to break a tie vote on a tax bill.”

Republicans wants tax reform by the end of the year, but that might not happen

Republicans are attempting to push through their massive tax overhaul by the end of the year and have already advanced the House version of their bill out of committee.

The Senate introduced their own version of the TCJA on Thursday, and the finance committee is scheduled to start their markup of the bill next week.

Already the timeline was stretched thin since a bill must be passed by December 8 to avoid a government shutdown, which could draw focus away from the tax bill. Now, on the heels of that fight will be the Alabama special election on December 12 and the possibility of a Jones win.

This distraction, said Chris Krueger of Cowen Washington Research Group, is an issue no matter who wins. Moore is already known as a volatile politician, and Senate Majority Mitch McConnell expressly favored his primary opponent, Luther Strange.

So, Kreuger said, Moore will not only provide an unwelcome distraction but also can’t be counted on even if he does win.

“Regardless, you have a major distraction and come December 12, someone who will not be a reliable vote for Mitch McConnell to bank,” Kreuger said.