Alabama Republican Roy Moore has sought to publicly shore up his continuing US senate bid despite a report that he had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl and romantically pursued three other teenagers decades ago.
Mr Moore, speaking to the Mid-Alabama Republican Club in suburban Birmingham, again denied allegations of sexual misconduct as “completely false and untrue”, saying they were an intentional attempt to derail his candidacy.
He said: “In the next few days there will be revelations about the motivations and the content of this article that will be brought to the public. “We fully expect the people of Alabama to see through this charade.”
A spokesman for Mr Moore declined to provide further information about what information those revelations might contain. In the hours following the Washington Post report on Thursday, some Republicans speculated that Alabama Governor Kay Ivey would delay the December 12 special election.
Mr Moore is running against Democrat Doug Jones to fill the US senate seat previously held by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions. However, a spokesman for Ms Ivey spokesman said she “is not considering and has no plans to move the special election for US senate”.
Since the Washington Post report, a wave of national Republican leaders have called for Mr Moore to drop out of the race if the allegations are true. They included the White House, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and Texas senator Ted Cruz.
Republican senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, who has made national headlines with his recent criticisms of President Donald Trump, tweeted on Saturday that Mr Moore’s nomination was “a bridge too far” even before the reports surfaced.
That did not sit well with some of Mr Moore’s supporters. “I’m really upset at my own party for condemning him so quickly,” said Tom Byars, who came to hear Mr Moore speak on Saturday. Mr Moore’s speech in Vestavia Hills was his first public appearance since the report, although he had also denied the story on Friday to conservative radio host Sean Hannity.
Mr Moore used the occasion to accuse The Washington Post of engaging in a “desperate attempt to stop my political campaign for United States senate”. Mr Moore denied claims in the story that he had provided beer and wine to women too young to buy it themselves, or that he had had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl.
“I have not provided alcoholic beverages, beer or anything else, to a minor,” Mr Moore said.
“I have not been guilty of sexual misconduct with anyone.”