As if Republicans don’t have enough problems distancing themselves from unpopular President Donald Trump, the continuing U.S. Senate candidacy of Alabama’s Roy Moore could have huge negative repercussions for GOP candidates looking at 2018’s midterm elections.
And Democratic campaign consultants know it and plan to hang Moore’s controversial candidacy around their necks.
According to Politico, Moore’s refusal to step aside after being accused of sexually assaulting a teen and stalking high schoolers at the mall doesn’t play well with voters outside of Alabama who may take it out on his GOP peers.
“Corey Stewart, who wants to represent all Virginians in the Senate, believes that Roy Moore’s disgusting and predatory behavior should not be condemned,” explained Virginia Senator Tim Kaine’s digital director in an email, drawing a straight line from Moore to former Trump Virginia campaign chairman Stewart who is challenging Kaine.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) — who was one of the last to condemn Moore — is already finding himself attached at the hip to the Alabama candidate by Democratic challenger Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s campaign team.
“It’s not that complicated, Ted Cruz: we’re talking about potentially elevating a man who preyed on young girls to the U.S. Senate,” stated a recent campaign fundraising email.
The problem with Moore was not unforeseen by the Republican insiders.
“This is precisely what we’ve warned about when discussing the importance of election quality candidates in GOP primaries,” explained Josh Holmes, former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “The opposition will ascribe their liabilities to candidates all across the country.”
According to Politico, Moore puts GOP candidates between a rock and a hard place, with the report stating, “Side with Moore and risk suburban swing voters will think you’re defending a pedophile; call for him to drop out and risk hardcore conservative voters believing you’re buying into a liberal witch hunt.”
One Republican Senate hopeful, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, hoped to make the Moore issue go away, saying: “I’m a lawyer. I don’t take anything that I read in the newspaper at face value on either side — from anybody. Facts are often complicated. I don’t know what the facts are in this case, but Judge Moore does.”
Democratic strategist Doug Thornell said candidates opposing Republicans are wise to make use of Moore’s behavior and refusal to step aside.
“This is smart psychological warfare that both parties implement to force the other side off message,” he explained. “The longer Moore stays in the race the worse it gets for the GOP. Ironically, the worst-case scenario for Senate Republicans is if Moore actually wins and they are stuck with an alleged sexual predator and pedophile in their conference.”