Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to vote for Roy Moore in Senate race despite sex allegations

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said Friday that she will vote for beleaguered GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore in next month's special election in the hope of preserving Republican control of Congress.

Moore, a former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama, has been accused of sexual misconduct toward several women who were in their teens when he was a deputy district attorney in his 30s.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey speaks to the media Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Montgomery, Ala. Ivey says she plans to vote for Republican Roy Moore for U.S. Senate even though he faces accusations of sexual misconduct. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has said she won't delay next month's special Senate election amid sex misconduct allegations swirling around Republican candidate Roy Moore  (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

One of the women told The Washington Post that Moore tried to initiate a sexual encounter with her when she was 14. Another said Moore assaulted her when she was a 16-year-old waitress after he offered to drive her home. Five others said Moore pursued romantic relationships with them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18.

Ivey told reporters she had no reason to disbelieve the women and is bothered by their allegations. But, she said, "We need to have a Republican in the United States Senate to vote on things like Supreme Court justices, other appointments that the Senate has to confirm and make major decisions."

Moore has declined to drop out of the race, despite the urging of Washington Republicans and a plethora of polls published this week that show him trailing Democrat Doug Jones.

The Alabama GOP, meanwhile, reaffirmed its support for Moore on Thursday.

Moore's wife, Kayla, has assumed the role of her husband's chief defender, leading a "Women for Moore" rally on the steps of Alabama's Capitol on Friday.

"He will not step down. He will not stop fighting for the people of Alabama," said Kayla Moore, who lashed out at the news media and thanked people who were sticking behind her husband.

"To the people of Alabama," she said, "thank you for being smarter than they think you are."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.