Update: December 4, 9:45 p.m. ET: This morning, it was confirmed that Donald Trump has officially endorsed Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore.
Seemingly following the president's lead, the Republican National Committee confirmed this evening that it will support Moore in the race, The Associated Press reports.
Three weeks ago the RNC pulled fundraising efforts and financial support for Moore in light of sexual misconduct allegations against the candidate. This evening it dramatically shifted gears and, as a result, Moore will have the RNC's financial resources at his disposal.
The special election is on December 12. The latest polls show a tighter race than one would ever expect in Alabama, but Moore is now leading Democratic opponent Doug Jones.
Original story was published on December 3, 2017.
Amidst a swirl of disturbing allegations that Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore pursued relationships with underage girls when he was in his 30s, it briefly seemed like the unthinkable would happen: During the immediate fallout, polls indicated that Democrat Doug Jones had a fighting chance of defeating Moore in the solidly red state.
But, in recent developments that closely mirror the response to the release of the infamous Access Hollywood tape, Moore is bouncing back in the polls and has at least partially regained the support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
According to the latest CBS poll, Moore now leads Jones by a margin of six points. But that's not all: The same poll showed that a staggering 71 percent of Alabama Republicans think that Moore's accusers are lying. Furthermore, a majority of this group believes that the allegations are the result of a smear campaign cooked up by Democrats and the media.
Meanwhile, McConnell is backtracking on his previous statement that Moore should "step aside" in the race for the Jeff Sessions' former seat, as reported by CNN. "I think we're going to let the people of Alabama decide a week from Tuesday who they want to send to the Senate, and then we'll address the matter appropriately," McConnell said on Sunday, adding that Moore would be investigated by the Senate Ethics Committee if he does win.
These statements are a far cry from what McConnell said on November 13. Specifically, he stated "I believe the women," and “[Moore's] obviously not fit to be in the United States Senate," as reported by The Daily Intelligencer. The outlet notes that McConnell's comments may have actually helped Moore because they angered "antiestablishment" Republicans (also known as the base that helped propel Trump to victory).
As CBS points out, turnout will likely be the deciding factor in the outcome. In general, Republicans vote in higher numbers than Democrats and a lack of enthusiasm from Democrats who chose to stay home last November likely played a major role in Hillary Clinton's defeat.
Although things are certainly looking up for Moore, we shouldn't rule out Jones just yet — especially if Democrats keep up the momentum we saw in the November 7, 2017 state and local elections.
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