In a Monday editorial, a top newspaper group in Alabama urged conservatives to consider the example of Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and support a write-in candidate rather than Republican candidate Roy Moore in Tuesday’s Senate election.
What did the editorial say?
The editorial board at AL.com, home to several of the state’s leading newspapers, wrote that, since allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore came to light, they have heard “story after story of conservative Alabamians frustrated and confused about their choice, worried about how to do the right thing.”
Multiple women have accused Moore of seeking sexual encounters with them when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s. One of the accusers said she was just 14 years old when Moore molested her.
“We urge you not to be fooled into believing this is a matter of ‘liberal’ vs. ‘conservative,’” the editorial board wrote of the allegations.
“If you care about the future of this state, this election is for you,” they wrote. “If you are (or love) a woman, this election is for you. If you are looking for a job, if you run a business, if you worry about the future of your children, this election is for you.”
They argued that on Tuesday “the rest of the world will see just one winner — and will declare that all of Alabama has spoken.”
“Just 100 Americans get to be in the Senate,” they wrote. “Alabama chooses two of them. That's a privilege the Constitution gives to our small state in order to balance the influence of states with huge populations."
They argued that exercising this privilege of choosing a senator should be done “carefully.”
“Voting for Roy Moore just because he has an 'R' next to his name, ignoring his record of personal and official misconduct, is neither wise nor careful,” they wrote.
The board went on to praise how the state's senior senator, Richard Shelby, made his choice in the election. Shelby, a Republican, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that he cast a ballot for a write-in candidate rather than support Moore or his Democratic rival Doug Jones.
Shelby said on CNN that he couldn’t vote for Moore in light of the allegations against him.
“But I wrote in a distinguished Republican name,” Shelby said.
The editorial board wrote that Shelby “has served the state with dignity and he has never embarrassed us. His judgment of Moore is convincing.” They also argued that “there are many” distinguished Republicans in the state from which Shelby could have selected.
The board argued that for a state's senior senator to choose not to support their party's nominee for the other seat “is almost unheard of.”
Historians could find just one example: from 1990, when Louisiana's Republican nominee was David Duke, a former KKK leader. Alabamians should think hard about how effective Moore can be as junior senator, with such a fissure between him and Shelby, let alone other Republicans.
Shelby is not alone among Alabama conservatives or Republicans in his judgment against Moore. Alabama's Young Republican Federation pulled their endorsement from Moore. State Sen. Dick Brewbaker has stated that he won't support Moore. And we suspect there may be other Republican leaders quietly planning to vote against Moore.
The editorial board highlighted other Republicans outside of Alabama — such as former presidential nominee Mitt Romney — who have chosen not to support Moore.
“Alabamians struggling with their decision could follow the path of some of these conservatives and write in a name,” they wrote.
The editorial board argued that Jones is not as liberal as some of his opponents portray him, and remains an option as well for voters who do not wish to support Moore. They reiterated that voters who do not wish to support Jones, “like Sen. Shelby, still have an option: write in a name and make their conscience, and their regard for women in this state, heard.”
“In the end, we urge you to vote,” they concluded. “Each of us will live with the outcome of this election on our shoulders. This state needs people of good conscience to come forward Tuesday and to register a voice for dignity for all people.”
The Alabama election will take place Tuesday.
(H/T: The Hill)