Mr. McConnell’s decision to declare that “I believe the ladies, yes” removed among the final lines of protection some Washington Republicans had been standing up behind – that Mr. Moore should step aside if the allegations had been proven. Mr. McConnell’s pronouncement managed to get very clear that the accounts had been as good as proven in his eyes and increased the prospect that Mr. Moore would deal with a significant concern to becoming a member of the Senate whether or not he prevails in the election on Dec. 12. A parade of fresh calls from Republican senators for Mr. Moore to bow out used.
Expelling Mr. Moore could present an edge to Senate Republicans because it could create a vacancy and set off another particular election in Alabama, providing the party an opportunity to find a new applicant. The uproar over his candidacy can be offering Mr. McConnell and his allies with facts that the effort to oust establishment Senate Republicans being led by Stephen K. Bannon, the past adviser to President Trump, could be disastrous if Mr. Moore is an exemplory case of who they plan to support.
But the battle over Mr. Moore could also elicit a harsh backlash from conservative activists aligned with Mr. Bannon and deepen the get together split that is already looming as an obstacle in the 2018 midterm elections.
Republicans are also weighing the potential of a write-in campaign behind an alternative applicant. It worked for Senator Lisa Murkowski in Alaska this year 2010, but such successes are exceedingly exceptional. A write-in campaign by a Republican could split the get together vote and bolster the likelihood of the Democratic applicant, Doug Jones, a past federal government prosecutor. Mr. Jones could also win outright, an outcome that could resolve many thorny concerns for Mr. McConnell but would keep Republicans with one fewer seat and a narrow 51-49 majority if they are already struggling.
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Mr. McConnell does not appreciate such complications. When Mr. Craig was arrested and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in the airport terminal sting, Mr. McConnell attempt to prevent him from even returning to the Capitol in order to avoid a spectacle. The leadership stripped Mr. Craig of his committee leadership positions and made clear that if he decided to return, he would face additional ethics scrutiny.
Mr. Craig quickly released he would resign his Senate seat. He then reneged and decided to serve out his term, but the ethics committee admonished him for his tendencies and he was cared for as an outcast by a lot of his colleagues.
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In the Packwood case, Mr. McConnell delivered results on the Senate flooring, describing his colleague’s “physical coercion” of women and “a habitual pattern of extreme, blatantly sexual advances, mainly directed at members of his very own staff or others whose livelihoods had been connected in some way to his ability and authority as a senator.” Republicans ultimately lost that seat after Mr. Packwood’s resignation.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a head with a far more aggressive no-tolerance plan toward sex abuse allegations,” explained Josh Holmes, a former best aide to Mr. McConnell who is always a close adviser. “In his mind, there is absolutely no political calculation to create when this sort of matter arises. It’s a lot more important to shield the integrity of the Senate than the partisan makeup of its membership.”
Though he wanted Mr. Packwood eliminated, Mr. McConnell desired it done his approach. When Democrats pushed for open public hearings that could embarrass Republicans, Mr. McConnell blocked the effort by threatening retaliatory hearings on various Democrats like Edward M. Kennedy.
Mr. McConnell is comfortable with those sorts of tactics. He is going for a tough line against Mr. Moore – and Moore supporters like Mr. Bannon – and appears ready to use the powers at his disposal to be sure Mr. Moore never serves in the Senate.