Alabama’s senior Republican senator said Sunday on CNN that he could not support his party’s nominee in the state Senate race, so he wrote in another Republican’s name instead.
CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) on “State of the Union” if he would rather see Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore or his Democratic opponent Doug Jones win the state’s election on Tuesday.
“Well, I would rather see the Republican win, but I would hope that Republican would be a write-in,” Shelby replied.
Shelby said he couldn’t vote for Moore following allegations that he sought sexual encounters with teenagers when he was in his early 30s, including a 14-year-old girl.
“I couldn’t vote for Roy Moore,” Shelby continued. “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. Will they do it? I’m not sure.”
Shelby said he doesn’t know what the outcome of Tuesday’s election will be.
“I don’t know what is going to happen,” he said. “You know, as a Republican, I had to vote Republican. I wanted to vote Republican. I understand where the president’s coming from. I understand we would like to retain that seat in the U.S. Senate.
“But I tell you what … there’s a time,” he continued. “There’s — we call it a tipping point. And I think so many accusations, so many cuts, so many drip, drip, drip, when it got to the 14-year-old story, that was enough for me. I said, ‘I can’t vote for Roy Moore.’”
Shelby, 83, reiterated that he didn’t support the Democrat in the race, but couldn’t bring himself to vote for the 70-year-old Moore.
“The state of Alabama deserves better,” Shelby said. “I think we have got a lot of great Republicans that could have won and carried the state beautifully and served in the Senate honorably.”
Shelby said last month that he planned to support a write-in candidate in the race. He declined to name the person he voted for.
Tapper asked Shelby if he believes Moore’s accusers — including Leigh Corfman, who alleged that Moore sexually molested her when she was 14.
“I have no reason not to believe them,” Shelby said, adding that the women are “credible.”
“But I wasn’t there,” Shelby said. “I don’t know what happened. But there’s a lot of stories there. There’s a lot of smoke. Got to be some fire somewhere.”