The strange circumstances surrounding Roy Moore – three allegations of inappropriate behavior and two allegations of sexual assault – have pushed the GOP into a strange predicament. On one hand, they do not want to lose the Senate seat when they barely hold a majority. On the other hand, some wouldn’t want Moore in office even if he wins his election. There’s a third option.
If Moore wins next month and assumes office, he can then be expelled by a two-thirds vote from the Senate. Under such a circumstance, the Governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, would select the replacement. Then Ivey would select a date for a special election and would most likely opt to coincide with the 2018 general election. Her predecessor, Robert Bentley, had originally scheduled the special election for this time after appointing Luther Strange to fill Jeff Sessions’ seat, but Ivey moved it up year.
In that scenario, the GOP would likely hold the seat until the special election and then we start all over again.
Adding fuel to this scenario is the White House who seems to already be planning out this gambit. According to the NY Times, two White House sources have floated the idea of replacing Moore with Jeff Sessions. It would kill two birds with one stone for the White House. First, the President has expressed varying degrees of unhappiness with his Attorney General, so moving him back where he came from could end the President’s problem without causing a stir. Second, such a scenario of replacing Moore would be viewed negatively by many who voted for him, particularly if either Luther Strange or Mo Brooks, Moore’s main competitors in the primary, was appointed. Sessions is extremely popular in Alabama, so if he’s the replacement, the repercussions from voters would be minimized.
Republicans who are concerned about Moore could have their cake and eat it, too. They could get rid of Moore and still hold the seat until the special election, which Sessions would almost certainly win. Otherwise, they’re stuck with losing the seat to Doug Jones until 2021.
The White House officials said Sessions could then be appointed to his old Senate seat “when it becomes vacant,” according to the Times.
It is unclear how, if Moore is elected, the seat would become vacant.
The report comes as Moore faces growing pressure from Republicans to step aside in the Alabama Senate race after allegations of sexual misconduct with a teenager.
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