“Why is there such a fear, such an anger to somebody running?” former judge Roy Moore mused during his second Senate campaign announcement on Thursday. “The mere mention of my name causes people to get up in arms in D.C.”
He’s not wrong.
As Moore, an accused child molester, announced his bid on Thursday, Senate Republicans across the leadership ranks dumped on the former Alabama judge, who was twice kicked off the bench for ethics violations, including for issuing an order not to give out same-sex marriage licenses.
“Give me a break. This place has enough creepy old men,” Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) told Politico on Thursday.
“There will be a lot of efforts made to ensure that we have a nominee other than him and one who can win in November,” Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD) also told the publication. “He’s already proven he can’t.”
The opposition to Moore is coming from the top of the Republican Party. Not just from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who told reporters Republicans would “certainly” oppose Moore “vigorously,” but President Trump and his eldest son have been actively discouraging Moore from running as well.
Even his would-be colleague in Alabama distanced himself from Moore and suggested the GOP could “do better” than such a candidate.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) said he’s communicated with former Attorney General Jeff Sessions about running for his former seat, one of the few possible candidates considered to have enough support to beat out Moore. Sessions has given no indication that he’s considering or would take on the role. In fact, he said in December that he didn’t intend to make a decision about a run anytime soon.
Republican Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby: “I want to reiterate again: I didn’t vote for Roy Moore, I wouldn’t vote for Roy Moore, I think the Republican Party can do better.” https://t.co/S0lqDy842a
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) December 10, 2017
Moore’s announcement puts him in a crowded primary field. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) and former Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville are already running and Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL) has said he was mulling the possibility.
Moore suffered a devastating loss in 2017 amid allegations that he molested and pursued teenage girls when he was in his 30s, handing the ruby-red Senate seat to a Democrat for the first time in a quarter century.