Mr. McConnell’s decision to declare that “I believe the women, yes” removed among the last lines of protection some Washington Republicans were standing up behind – that Mr. Moore should step aside if the allegations were established. Mr. McConnell’s pronouncement made it apparent that the accounts were as good as tested in his eye and increased the chance that Mr. Moore would face a significant challenge to signing up for the Senate whether or not he prevails in the election on Dec. 12. A parade of innovative phone calls from Republican senators for Mr. Moore to bow out followed.
Expelling Mr. Moore could present an edge to Senate Republicans since it could create a vacancy and set off another specialized election in Alabama, providing the party an opportunity to find a new applicant. The uproar over his candidacy can be providing Mr. McConnell and his allies with data that your time and effort to oust establishment Senate Republicans staying led by Stephen K. Bannon, the former adviser to President Trump, could possibly be disastrous if Mr. Moore is an exemplory case of who they plan to support.
But the fight over Mr. Moore could also elicit a harsh backlash from conservative activists aligned with Mr. Bannon and deepen the get together split that is previously looming as an obstacle in the 2018 midterm elections.
Republicans are also weighing the potential of a write-in marketing campaign behind an alternative applicant. It worked well for Senator Lisa Murkowski in Alaska this year 2010, but such successes will be exceedingly unusual. A write-in marketing campaign by a Republican could split the get together vote and strengthen the likelihood of the Democratic applicant, Doug Jones, a former federal government prosecutor. Mr. Jones could also win outright, an outcome that could resolve many thorny complications for Mr. McConnell but would leave Republicans with one fewer seat and a narrow 51-49 majority when 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 carry out in the airport sting, Mr. McConnell set out to prevent him from also returning to the Capitol to avoid a spectacle. The leadership stripped Mr. Craig of his committee leadership positions and made clear that if he decided to return, he’d face more ethics scrutiny.
Mr. Craig quickly declared he’d resign his Senate seat. Then reneged and decided to serve out his term, but the ethics committee admonished him for his habit and he was treated as an outcast by a lot of his colleagues.
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In the Packwood case, Mr. McConnell delivered results on the Senate floor, describing his colleague’s “physical coercion” of females and “a habitual structure of aggressive, blatantly sexual advances, largely fond of members of his personal personnel or others whose livelihoods were connected in some way to his electric power and authority as a senator.” Republicans finally dropped that seat after Mr. Packwood’s resignation.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a leader with a far more aggressive no-tolerance insurance policy toward sex misuse allegations,” said Josh Holmes, a former top aide to Mr. McConnell who is always a close adviser. “In his mind’s eye, there is absolutely no political calculation to make when this kind of point arises. It’s a lot more important to secure the integrity of the Senate than the partisan cosmetic of its membership.”
Though he wanted Mr. Packwood eliminated, Mr. McConnell sought it done his approach. When Democrats pushed for open public hearings that could embarrass Republicans, Mr. McConnell blocked your time and effort by threatening retaliatory hearings on different Democrats like Edward M. Kennedy.
Mr. McConnell is more comfortable with those sorts of tactics. He is taking a tough collection against Mr. Moore – and Moore supporters like Mr. Bannon – and appears prepared to utilize the powers at his disposal to make sure Mr. Moore never acts in the Senate.