A sixth accuser stepped forward on Wednesday to say that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore once grabbed her buttocks. And the fact that he is still a Senate candidate is causing no shortage of hand-wringing among Republicans. As BuzzFeed reports, senators have called for him to leave the race and severed their financial ties with his campaign. Moore's attitude last night? He tweeted, "Dear Mitch McConnell, Bring. It. On." It triggered this reply from Chris Hansen, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee: "Bring It On is a movie about high school cheerleaders." Even if he did leave the race, Moore's name will remain on the ballot. What can be done? That's the topic du jour, and the potential avenues are unusual ones. Where things stand:
- Lean on Kay Ivey: Some GOPers are pushing Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to reschedule the special election, which might provide the breathing room necessary to get a new candidate in place. But BuzzFeed notes that Ivey isn't giving interviews and has thus far only "mechanically" repeated that the election will go ahead as planned on Dec. 12. The New York Times notes that it's extremely unlikely she'd push the date, in part because absentee voting is already underway.
- A "drastic" option: Politico reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his advisers are considering another potential option: asking Sen. Luther Strange to resign, which would trigger another special election. Whether this is "even possible" is unclear.
- Jeff Sessions a non-starter: One other idea that's been tossed around—having former seat-holder/current Attorney General Jeff Sessions run as a write-in candidate, is pretty much a non-starter in Politico's view. In addition to the fact that he has reportedly expressed his disinterest in doing so, polls show an "unfavorable outcome." The Times notes that GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska won re-election in 2010 as a write-in candidate, so a move like this isn't entirely without precedent. That said, it is believed to be without precedent in Alabama as far as statewide races go.
- And if he is elected: The Times reports that there is a provision for expelling a senator, and it would take 66 Senate votes. But Cornell law professor Josh Chafetz points out a "slight wrinkle ... a longstanding norm with regards to conduct that was known to someone's constituents prior to an election. The idea is if your constituents knew about it and approved of it, then who is the chamber to expel you for it?"
- What then? If Moore won and was then expelled, Ivey would appoint an interim senator and put another special election on the calendar. FiveThirtyEight predicts this "would likely lead to another Republican in the seat."
- The historical precedent for expulsion: You have to go way, way back, to 1862, which marks the last such successful attempt. NPR reports that in 1797 a senator was expelled for treason, and over the years 1861 and 1862 another 14 were expelled over their loyalty to the Confederacy. There have been a subsequent 17 attempts, none successful, the most recent being John Ensign, who ended up resigning in 2011.
Moore has responded to Sean Hannity's ultimatum. More on that here
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