- Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein
- Top Republicans have been publicly floating the idea of having Attorney General Jeff Sessions mount a write-in campaign for the Alabama Senate seat currently being sought by Roy Moore, who faces multiple sexual misconduct allegations.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly discussed the idea of having Sessions appointed to the Senate seat should Moore be elected and removed from office.
- Sessions appears unlikely to agree to either plan, according to those close to him.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly suggested on Tuesday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions replace Roy Moore, the beleaguered Alabama Republican running for Senate amid multiple accusations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls.
Moore has come under increased pressure by top Republicans to abandon his election bid. Although it is too late to replace Moore on the ballot, Republicans would mount a write-in campaign for an alternative candidate to pit against Doug Jones, the Democratic opponent.
“[Moore’s] campaign is collapsing,” McConnell said Tuesday at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council. “Obviously we’re in a discussion here about how to salvage this seat if possible.
“The Alabamian who would fit that profile would be the attorney general,” McConnell continued. “He’s totally well known and extremely popular in Alabama.”
McConnell also discussed the write-in idea with Vice President Mike Pence in a call on Monday, according to The Washington Post. Another potential solution they reportedly discussed was appointing Sessions to the Senate seat should Moore win the election and be immediately removed from office – an outcome Senate rules allow for.
Should Moore win the election, two-thirds of the Senate could vote against seating him, leaving the Alabama governor with the opportunity to name a replacement.
The idea of encouraging Sessions to seek his old Alabama seat has gained traction among Republican officials, as Sessions remains popular in the state, and has notably fallen out of favor with President Donald Trump due to his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
Sessions has said there’s no reason to doubt Moore’s accusers
Sessions, however, appears unlikely to agree to McConnell’s plan, according to those close to him.
“This is wishful thinking from people who probably don’t even know Jeff Sessions and certainly haven’t spoken to him,” one official close to Sessions told ABC News.
Sessions has not publicly addressed the idea, but was questioned about the allegations against Moore during his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
“I have no reason to doubt these young women,” Sessions said.
Five women have come forward publicly, alleging that Moore pursued relationships with them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s.
One of the women, Leigh Corfman, told The Washington Post in a bombshell report published last week that Moore initiated a sexual encounter with her when she was 14 and he was 32. She said he brought her to his home twice and on the second visit took off her clothes and touched her over her bra and underpants and then forced her to touch him over his underwear.
A fifth accuser, Beverly Young Nelson, came forward in a press conference on Monday to accuse Moore of sexually assaulting her in his car when she was a 16-year-old waitress and he was the district attorney of Alabama’s Etowah County. As proof of their relationship, Nelson displayed a page of her high-school yearbook she said Moore had asked to sign during an earlier visit to the restaurant she worked at.
“To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say, ‘Merry Christmas.’ Love, Roy Moore DA, 12-22-77, Olde Hickory House,” the message read.
Moore has denied the allegations against him, and said as recently as Tuesday afternoon that he plans to remain in the race, according to ABC News.