Chicken Fried Politics

Home » Posts tagged 'Leigh Corfman'

Tag Archives: Leigh Corfman

Democrat Doug Jones wins Alabama U.S. Senate seat

Jones defeats Republican Roy Moore amid allegations of Moore’s sexual pursuit of teenage girls

♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com

BIRMINGHAM (CFP) — Democrat Doug Jones has defeated Republican Roy Moore to win a U.S. Senate contest in Alabama, snatching away a seat in one of the country’s most Republican states and handing a rebuke to President Donald Trump, who went all in for Moore.

U.S. Senator-elect Doug Jones

Jones, 63, a former federal prosecutor from Birmingham making his first bid for elective office, took 50 percent to 48 percent for Moore in the December 12 vote, with the remaining vote going to write-in candidates.

Despite the Yellowhammer State’s strongly conservative tilt, Moore could not survive allegations that he sexually pursued teenage girls decades ago when he was in his 30s, which became public a month before the special election to permanently fill the seat of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Moore’s defeat, in a state where a Democrat had not won a Senate race in 25 years, also leaves Senate Republicans with a razor-thin 51-49 majority and increases prospects for Democrats to win control of the chamber in 2018.

Speaking to jubilant supporters in Birmingham, Jones said, “I think that I have been waiting all my life, and now I just don’t know what the hell I’m going to say.”

“We have been at a crossroads in the past, and, unfortunately, we have usually taken the wrong fork. Tonight, you have taken the right road,” he said.

But Moore, addressing supporters in Montgomery, refused to concede defeat, saying that the closeness of the result might raise the possibility of a recount.

“It’s not over,” he said. “We also know God is in control.”

However, Moore’s most prominent supporter, Trump, offered congratulations to Jones on Twitter shortly after television networks called the race for Jones.

“Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard fought victory,” Trump said. “The people of Alabama are great, and the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time.”

Jones will face voters again in 2020 after winning the race to fill the rest of the term Sessions won in 2014, which he gave up in February to join Trump’s Cabinet as attorney general.

Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

In November, five women came forward to say that Moore, now 70, made advances toward them when he was in his 30s and they were teenagers. One of the women, Leigh Corfman, said Moore initiated sexual contact with her back in 1979, when she was just 14.

Suggestions of sexual impropriety posed a special problem for Moore because his legal and political careers have been built on unapologetic Christian conservatism, which is frequently on display in most of his speeches.

He was twice elected and twice removed as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court after defying federal court orders on displaying the Ten Commandments and issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples — stands that made him a controversial figure well before the allegations of sexual misbehavior surfaced.

Moore vehemently denied the allegations, but virtually all of the Senate GOP caucus called on him to exit the race, including Alabama’s other U.S. Senator, Republican Richard Shelby.

Trump initially kept some distance from Moore, sending out surrogates to say that if the charges were true, he should leave the race. However, Trump eventually endorsed Moore and made robocalls on his behalf, saying the seat was too important to hand over to a “liberal” like Jones.

Democrats, smelling blood after the allegations against Moore became public, began pouring resources into what had been considered a long-shot race. Toward the end of the campaign, Jones’s campaign was putting up seven TV commercials to every one from Moore.

The Senate seat opened in February after Sessions left to become U.S. attorney general. Former Governor Robert Bentley appointed Republican Luther Strange to  the seat, but he was unable to hold it in a September GOP primary where he lost to Moore.

Retired Marine Corps general launches write-in campaign in Alabama U.S. Senate race

Report: Democrat Doug Jones outspending Republican Roy Moore 7-to-1 on TV

♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor

BIRMINGHAM (CFP) — Just two weeks before a special election to pick Alabama’s next U.S. Senator, Lee Busby, a retired Marine Corps colonel and one-time aide to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, has launched a last-minute write-in bid for the seat as an independent.

In another development in the race, Democrat Doug Jones’s campaign has outspent embattled Republican nominee Roy Moore by a whopping 7-to-1 margin on television ads in his quest to become the first Democrat to win a Senate race in Alabama in 25 years, according to a report in Politico.

Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Lee Busby

Busby told MSNBC’s Morning Joe that he got into the race because he was dissatisfied with choosing between Moore, who has been accused of sexually pursuing teenage girls, and Jones, a former federal prosecutor from Birmingham making his first bid for political office.

“I felt like there was a lot of people in Alabama who felt like me,” Busby told the network. “The more I talked to [people], the more sense I got that there was this huge swath in the middle that feels like they’re not represented.”

Since announcing his write-in candidacy on November 27, Busby said he has been the target of a deluge of criticism on social media from Moore supporters angered by his candidacy.

“I’m either a Democratic agent or a lackey of [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell,” he said.

Busby told MSNBC that he is a registered Republican but did not support Moore during the GOP primary, well before the sexual pursuit allegations surfaced.

“I don’t know Roy Moore. I’ve never met him. But there’s a sense of self-righteousness that comes out of that campaign that bothered me, and I don’t think it represents the majority of Alabama voters,” he said.

Busby, who lives in Tuscaloosa, served 31 years in the Marine Corps and Marine Reserve, reaching the rank of colonel. After leaving the military, he has focused on his work as a sculptor, creating memorial busts of service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While in the military, Busby served as vice chief of staff to Kelly, the retired Marine general who is now Trump’s chief of staff.

Since allegations against Moore became public on November 9, Trump has refused to condemn him, instead offering pointed criticism of Jones on Twitter. However, the president has so far stopped short of traveling to Alabama to campaign with his party’s nominee.

By contrast, McConnell and most of the Republicans in the Senate have called on Moore to exit the race, even though the deadline had passed to remove his name from the ballot.

Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

Five women have come forward to say that Moore, now 70, made advances toward them when he was in his 30s and they were teenagers. One of the women, Leigh Corfman, said Moore initiated sexual contact with her back in 1979, when she was just 14.

Moore has denied the allegations and resisted pressure from Republicans to drop out of the race.

The most recent public polls, taken before Busby’s entry, have shown the race between Jones and Moore within the margin of error, which means that the polls can’t offer a conclusion as to which man is ahead. The competitiveness of the race is shocking sight in Alabama, where Republican Richard Shelby won by 28 points in 2016 and Democrats didn’t even run anybody against Republican Jeff Sessions in 2014.

Just as shocking is the disparity on the TV airwaves, with Jones airing more than 10,000 ads since the primary, compared to just 1,000 for Moore, according to figures compiled by Advertising Analytics and reported by Politico.

National Democrats had been wary of putting resources into the long-shot Alabama race, but money began pouring into Jones’s campaign after Moore won the GOP primary and the allegations against him surfaced.

The special election to fill the Senate seat is December 12.

The Alabama seat became vacant in February, when Sessions resigned to become U.S. attorney general. Republican Luther Strange was appointed to fill the seat but failed to hold it when Moore challenged him in the GOP primary to pick a nominee for a special election to elect a permanent replacement.

Moore was a controversial figure even before the allegations about his alleged sexual pursuit of teenage girls surfaced. He was twice elected as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and removed both times, first for defying a federal  judge’s order to remove a 10 Commandments display at the state judicial building in Montgomery and then for encouraging local officials to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling mandating marriage equality.

In 2006 and 2010, he ran poorly in GOP primaries for governor. But in the special election, he was able to parlay unhappiness with the Republican establishment in Washington into a win over Strange, who was backed by Trump and McConnell.

Watch Busby’s full interview with MSNBC:

McConnell: I believe Roy Moore’s accusers

Head of Senate GOP campaign arm says Moore should be expelled; fifth woman alleges sexual misconduct

♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com

MONTGOMERY (CFP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he believes the women who have come forward to accuse Alabama Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct, while the head of the Senate GOP’s campaign arm says Moore should be expelled from the Senate if he wins a December special election.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

“I believe the women, yes, ” McConnell told reporters after attending a tax reform event November 12 in Louisville. “I think he should step aside.”

McConnell also said Republican leaders are looking into the feasibility of supporting a write-in candidate in the race, although he was non-committal on whether that candidate would be the man Moore defeated in the Republican primary, U.S. Senator Luther Strange.

U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, took to Twitter to suggest that Republican senators might refuse to let Moore take his seat in the Senate even if he wins.

“I believe the individuals speaking out against Roy Moore spoke with courage and truth, proving he is unfit to serve in the United States Senate and he should not run for office,” Gardner said. “If he refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should vote to expel him, because he does not meet the ethical and moral requirements of the United States Senate.”

Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

Moore fired back on Twitter: “The person who should step aside is @SenateMajLdr Mitch McConnell. He has failed conservatives and must be replaced.”

GOP leaders are in a difficult spot. The deadline has passed for replacing Moore on the ballot, so, if he withdraws, the only option for Republicans to win would be a write-in campaign. However, if he refuses to go, a write-in campaign could split the Republican vote and clear the way for Democrat Doug Jones to win. And that would cut the GOP majority in the Senate to a single vote.

Strange, who has been filling the seat on a temporary basis since February, would be problematic as a write-in candidate because he lost to Moore in September after an acrimonious primary, leaving him an unlikely figure to unify Republicans in a battle against Jones.

Even as Republican leaders grappled over how to deal with Moore, a fifth woman came forward to allege that Moore tried to force himself on her when she was just 16 and he was a local prosecutor in Alabama. Beverly Young Nelson said she managed to fight off Moore’s advances after he offered her a ride home from a restaurant where she worked.

On November 9, The Washington Post published an allegation from another woman, Leigh Corfman, who said Moore initiated sexual contact with her back in 1979, when she was just 14 and he was 32. Three other women also told the Post that Moore pursued them when they were teenagers, although none of those women allege that any sexual contact beyond kissing took place.

Moore has strenuously denied the allegations, insisting that they are a politically motivated attack to keep him out of the Senate.

“We do not intend to let the Democrats, or establishment Republicans or anybody else behind this story stop this campaign.” Moore during an appearance at a Veteran’s Day event where he addressed the allegations. “We fully expect the people of Alabama to see through this charade.”

Suggestions of sexual impropriety pose a special problem for Moore, 70, because his legal and political careers have been built on unapologetic Christian conservatism, which is frequently on display in most of his speeches.

He was twice elected and removed as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court after defying federal court orders to stop displaying the Ten Commandments on public property and encouraging local officials not to license same-sex marriages after the U.S. Supreme Court had legalized them.

The allegations have further eroded Moore’s already shaky relationship with fellow Republicans in the Senate, all of whom backed Strange in the primary. Given the current climate of heightened sensitivity to allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, Republicans have been quick to put daylight between themselves and Moore.

However, Moore — who twice put his job as chief justice on the line to defy federal courts — is unlikely to heed calls to step aside, especially coming from McConnell. Moore has said loudly and often that he would vote against McConnell as Republican leader if he gets to Washington.

The imbroglio surrounding Moore marks the second time in a year that a sex scandal has rocked politics in the Yellowhammer State.

In April, former Governor Robert Bentley resigned under threat of impeachment after pleading guilty to two misdemeanors stemming from his efforts to extricate himself from a scandal over his relationship with former aide.

Strange was appointed to the Senate seat in February by Bentley after Jeff Sessions left to become U.S. attorney general. Although state law mandates that Senate vacancies be filled “forthwith,” Bentley delayed a special election until November 2018, which would have given Strange nearly two years of incumbency before he had to face voters.

But after Bentley resigned, new Alabama Governor Kay Ivey reversed course and ordered a special election this year. Moore went on to defeat Strange in a September primary runoff.

Allegations of sexual impropriety by Roy Moore roil Alabama U.S. Senate race

Woman says Moore had sexual contact with her when she was 14; three others allege he pursued them as teenagers

♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com

MONTGOMERY (CFP) — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore is sharply denying a published report alleging that he initiated sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl in 1979 when he was 32 and working as a prosecutor in Alabama, calling it “totally false” and a “desperate political attack.”

Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore

Three other women also told The Washington Post that Moore pursued them when they were teenagers, although none of those women allege that any sexual contact beyond kissing took place.

The salacious allegations about Moore, coming just a month before a special election to fill the Senate seat, sparked alarm among GOP leaders, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying “if these allegations are true, [Moore] must step aside.”

However, if Moore were to withdraw, Alabama law would not allow Republicans to replace him on the ballot, which would force them to use a write-in campaign to prevent the coveted Senate seat from falling into the hands of Democrat Doug Jones.

Moore fought back against the allegations with a statement in which he called the story “completely false” and “a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign.”

Noting that Moore has run public office numerous times over the last 40 years, his campaign issued another statement saying “if any of these allegations were true, they would have been made public long before now.”

“This garbage is the very definition of fake news and intentional defamation,” the statement said, noting also that the Post’s editorial board has endorsed Jones. (However, it should be noted that in American newspapers, the editorial board operates independently from news reporters.)

Suggestions of sexual impropriety could pose a special problem for Moore, 70, because his legal and political careers have been built on unapologetic Christian conservatism, which is frequently on display in most of his speeches.

Moore was twice removed as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court after defying federal court orders on displaying the Ten Commandments and issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He is also the founder and president of the Foundation for Moral Law, which advocates social conservative views in court.

In the Post story, Leigh Corfman said Moore pursued her after meeting her outside an Alabama courthouse in 1979, when she was 14. She said they made two trips to his home, and, during the second trip, Moore touched her sexually over her underwear and had her do the same to him. At the time, Moore had not yet married his wife, Kayla.

The Post quoted a childhood friend of Corfman’s who said shetold her about her interactions with Moore around the time they happened; Corfman’s mother said her daughter told her about it a decade later, after Moore had become a local judge.

The three other women said Moore asked them out when they were teenagers. One girl’s mother forbade her from going out with the much-older Moore; the other two said their contact with Moore did not progress beyond kissing, and one said she and Moore drank wine together.

Corfman told the Post that she has voted Republican in the last three presidential elections and didn’t come forward until now because she feared the possible ramifications. The Post also reported that none of the women had made campaign donations to Jones or Moore’s Republican primary rival, U.S. Senator Luther Strange.

The allegations in the Post have further eroded Moore’s already shaky relationship with fellow Republicans in the Senate, all of whom backed Strange in the primary. And in the current climate of heightened sensitivity to allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, Republicans were quick to put daylight between themselves and Moore.

At least nine Republican senators said publicly that Moore should withdraw if the allegations are true. On Twitter, U.S. Senator John McCain went even further, calling allegations “deeply disturbing and disqualifying,” and adding that Moore “should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of.”

Even Alabama’s other senator, Richard Shelby, joined the chorus; he was quoted by Politico as saying that “if that’s true, he doesn’t belong in the Senate.”

However, Moore — who twice put his job as chief justice on the line to defy federal courts — is unlikely to heed calls to step aside, especially coming from McConnell. Moore has said loudly and often that he would vote against McConnell as Republican leader if he gets to Washington.

Under Alabama law, Moore could withdraw from the race, and any votes cast for him would not count. However, the deadline to replace him on the ballot was 76 days before the December 12 election, which has come and gone.

The only possible option for Republicans would be to launch a write-in campaign, either for Strange or some other candidate. In 2010, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski used that technique to secure re-election in Alaska after losing a primary, although the logistics would be more difficult in Alabama, which has six times more population.

The allegations against Moore also might change the calculations for national Democrats, who have been reluctant to put money into the Alabama race despite polls showing that Jones is within striking distance.

Pressure to go all in for Jones increased after the November 7 election in Virginia, where Democrats swept three statewide races and nearly overturned the Republican majority in the lower house of the legislature.

The imbroglio surrounding Moore marks the second time in a year that a sex scandal has rocked politics in the Yellowhammer State.

In April, former Governor Robert Bentley resigned under threat of impeachment after pleading guilty to two misdemeanors stemming from his efforts to extricate himself from a scandal over his relationship with former aide Rebekah Mason.

Strange was appointed to the Senate seat in February by former Governor Robert Bentley after Jeff Sessions left to become U.S. attorney general. Although state law mandates that Senate vacancies be filled “forthwith,” Bentley delayed a special election until November 2018, which would have given Strange nearly two years of incumbency before he had to face voters.

But after Bentley resigned, new Alabama Governor Kay Ivey reversed course and ordered a special election this year. Moore went on to defeat Strange in a September primary runoff.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: