Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared Sunday to soften his position on fellow Republican Roy Moore’s Alabama Senate bid, saying the voters should “make the call.”
The Kentucky Republican backed Luther Strange, Moore’s opponent in the GOP primary, then called for Moore to quit the general election race after several women last month accused him of sexual misconduct or behavior.
“I’m going to let the people of Alabama make the call,” McConnell on Sunday told ABC’s “This Week.”
The special election to fill the Senate seat of Republican Jeff Session is Dec. 12. Session vacated the seat to become U.S. attorney general.
Moore, a Christian conservative, lost his general election lead to Democratic opponent Doug Jones after the decades-old allegations surfaced in November.
But the most recent RealClearPolitics averaging of polls shows Moore with another 6 percentage-point lead.
“Roy Moore should step aside, the women who’ve come forward are entirely credible,” McConnell said last month. “He’s obviously not fit to be in the United States Senate, and we’ve looked at all the options to try to prevent that from happening.”
Still, Republicans cannot afford to lose the Session seat to Democrats, considering they have only a 52-48 majority in the chamber.
The White House already has adopted a similar stance, saying President Donald Trump thinks the allegations are” very troubling” but that “the people of Alabama should make a decision on who their next senator should be.”
Nine women reportedly have made allegations against Moore.
Trump has said Moore says the allegations are untrue, saying, “He denies it.”