Birmingham, Ala. – Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore said Thursday he’s prepared for a protracted battle with his party as more claims about sexual misconduct surface, quipping that he’s managed to unify both “the Democrats and Republicans in fighting against me.”
The twice-removed judge has defied party leaders who have called for him to step down, casting himself as an enemy of establishment Republicans.
“This is an effort by Mitch McConnell and his cronies to steal this election from the people of Alabama, and they will not stand for it,” said Moore, adding: “I’ll quit standing when they lay me in that box and put it in the ground.”
He did not answer several direct questions about allegations that have surfaced over the last week. The Washington Post’s report a week ago that Moore tried to court two young women when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s has since spurred at least six other women to come forward with separate claims.
Without talking specifics, Moore on Wednesday called the claims “scurrilous, false charges” and portrayed them as an attempt to shift the focus from policy issues in the race against Democrat Doug Jones. A former federal prosecutor, Jones is seeking to be the first Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate in Alabama since 1992.
“I want to get back to the issues, which some have been avoiding,” Moore said, adding: “What is important is how we address the future of this country.”
Moore talked briefly after about 90 minutes of speeches and sermons from supporters in the clergy who painted Moore as a righteous crusader and his detractors as immoral backers of a corrupt status quo.
After Moore’s brief remarks, organizers opened the floor to questions from media members. When he was asked two questions about his response to the allegations of sexual misconduct, he quickly hustled out the room.
Janet Porter, a conservative activist who helped set up the event, turned her frustration on the reporters in the room.
“I’m glad you got more church than you’ve probably had in the last 10 years,” she said.