Stay Informed: Controversial Alabama Senate Race

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A Republican candidate’s easy road to victory in a red state has been tainted by sexual misconduct allegations, creating an opportunity for a Democrat to take one of Alabama’s Senate seats for the first time in 30 years. On December 12th, 2017, a special election will take place for an open Senate seat in Alabama. The seat became open when Jeff Sessions, former Senator, left his job in the Senate to serve as Attorney General when Trump appointed him. The two candidates in this election are Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore. There has been a heated controversy about allegations of sexual abuse and assault against Republican candidate Roy Moore. These allegations combined with his history of making divisive remarks about LGBT rights have brought national attention to this special election and have caused many important figures in the Republican Party to call for Roy Moore to drop out of the Senate race altogether, and some Republican lawmakers have even suggested voting for the Democratic candidate, Doug Jones.

The controversy all kicked off on November 9th when the Washington Post published an investigative article about a woman named Leigh Corfman that Moore initiated a sexual relationship with when she was 14 and he was 32. Ever since then, there have been 6 more women who have come forward with allegations against Moore. All of these women have said that Moore approached them as teenagers and asked them repeatedly to go on a date with him. Only one of the women who came forward refused his advances. For those who responded to him and were flattered by an older man giving them attention, he took them either to his house in the middle of the woods in Alabama or on dates. He only initiated sexual conduct with Corfman, who says that she “felt uncomfortable and asked to leave.” However, looking back, many of these women realized “that the idea that a grown man would want to take out a teenager, that’s disgusting,” according to Wendy Miller, one of the women who came forward.

Perhaps the most disturbing allegations are the ones made by Beverly Young Nelson. Nelson alleged that Moore was driving her home from work one day when they were not in a relationship and had just met a few times. He proceeded to pull the car over and began forcing Nelson to give him a sexual favor. He eventually stopped, but Nelson was still traumatized from the encounter and did not choose to come forward until the Washington Post article was released. “I would probably have taken what Mr. Moore did to me to my grave had it not been for the courage of four other women that were willing to speak out about their experiences with Mr. Moore,” Nelson told CNN.

Moore denies all the allegations, saying that “this is absolutely false, I never did what she said I did… And if you look at this situation, you’ll see that because I’m eleven points ahead, or ten or eleven points ahead, this race being just twenty-eight days off, that this is a political maneuver, and it has nothing to do with reality, it’s all about politics.” He continues to deny the allegations, calling them “fake news.”

However, many Republican leaders do not believe his denial, with one Republican senator from Maine, Senator Susan Collins, even saying that “[she] did not find his denials to be convincing and believe[s] that he should withdraw from the Senate race in Alabama.” House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have also called for Moore to leave the race, and many more Republican law makers are saying that they do not believe Moore should be running. McConnell has even proposed that Republican voters should write in Attorney General Sessions on Election Day. If this happens and Sessions wins, he will return to his Senate seat and the country will need a new attorney general.

A common response given by those who are skeptical of the women’s allegations is, “Why now?” To some, it seems unbelievable that all this information is coming out right before the election. Moore has alleged that it was a political attack fabricated by the Democratic Party. However, the women share in their statements reasons why it has taken them so long to come forward with their stories.

The reason that many of these women are all coming forward now is that in the state of Alabama and especially in the towns these women lived in, Moore was highly respected and looked up to by the community. One of the women, Debbie Wessie Gibson, said that at that time Moore “had this godlike, almost deity status — he was a hometown boy made good.” It was highly unlikely that people would believe allegations like these about someone so respected in the community. Beverly Nelson said that Moore himself confirmed this, telling her that  ‘You’re just a child… I am the district attorney of Etowah County and if you tell anyone about this no one will ever believe you.” Additionally, all the women were underage at the time of this alleged misconduct. It may have shed a negative light on them for agreeing to go on dates with a 30 year old man when they were teenagers.

Although right now this is a “he said, she said” situation, many people, including the House Majority leader, are calling for formal investigation. This Senate race is proving to be very exciting and it is unsure about what is going to happen next and the results of this election could have lasting effects on our country. The Chieftain Press will keep you updated. It’s important to stay informed.