Alabama’s Roy Moore, undone by allegations, considers new Senate run

FILE PHOTO: Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore pauses as he addresses supporters at his election night party in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S., December 12, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman/File Photo

(Reuters) – Alabama Republican Roy Moore, whose unsuccessful 2017 campaign for the U.S. Senate was marred by allegations he sexually assaulted or pursued teenage girls while in his 30s, said on Friday that he may again run for the Senate.

In an interview on the Christian program “Focal Point” on American Family Radio, host Bryan Fischer asked Moore about the 2020 race for the Senate in Alabama. “Tell me what you’re thinking about throwing your hat back into the ring,” Fischer said.

“I’m seriously considering it, I think that it (the 2017 Senate race) was stolen,” Moore responded, citing what he described as misinformation campaigns against him.

Senator Doug Jones, a former federal prosecutor, defeated Moore by a narrow margin in a special election in December 2017 to fill the seat vacated by Republican Jeff Sessions when he became U.S. attorney general. Jones was the first Democrat in a quarter-century to be elected to the U.S. Senate in conservative-leaning Alabama.

If Moore, a 72-year-old former chief judge in Alabama known for staunchly conservative views, does decide to run for the Senate in 2020 and secures the Republican nomination, he could find himself facing Jones again. The term that Jones was elected to fill expires at the end of 2020.

Moore’s 2017 campaign to fill Sessions’ seat was beset by allegations from women who told the Washington Post that he had sexually assaulted or pursued them while he was in his 30s and they were teenagers. Moore denied the misconduct allegations.

In January, Alabama’s Republican attorney general, Steve Marshall, asked federal elections officials to investigate allegations that the 2017 special election was tainted by use of a misleading social media campaign against Moore. [nL1N1Z71HV]

The New York Times has reported that Democratic operatives sought to undermine Moore by creating a Facebook page claiming his supporters wanted to ban alcohol in the state. The newspaper has also reported that Democrats created a separate “false flag” Facebook page to portray Moore as supported by Russian bot accounts.

U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne is the only Republican in Alabama so far, who has formally pledged to run for the Senate in 2020, according to a report from AL.com, the website of Alabama Media Group.

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Leslie Adler

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