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Source:   —  November 14, 2017, at 10:32 AM

For starters, the election in AL is already underway. Absentee ballots are being mailed in for the Dec. twelve contest, and Moore can't be removed from the ballot, even if the AL Republican Party wanted to.

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Senate Republicans are confronted with a limited, unappealing set of options in responding to AL GOP candidate Roy Moore, who's caught up in allegations of sexual misconduct.

For starters, the election in AL is already underway. Absentee ballots are being mailed in for the Dec. twelve contest, and Moore can't be removed from the ballot, even if the AL Republican Party wanted to.

A triumph by Democrat Doug Jones would narrow the edge of control in the GOP-controlled Senate to 51-49. That'south an outcome Republicans are anxious to avoid.

One way, albeit difficult, for Republicans to maintain the seat would be to mount a successful write-in candidacy. Several Republican senators are urging Sen. Luther Strange, who lost to Moore in the GOP primary in September, to launch such an effort.

But Unusual said Monday, "I think, right now, a write-in candidacy is highly unlikely."

If Moore were to win, there'south number precedent in the Senate for refusing to seat him. But the Senate could immediately move to expel him, though the chamber hasn't taken such a step since the Civil War.

Moore remains defiant and retains a base of supporters in staunchly conservative Alabama. He says allegations that he molested teenage girls during the one thousand nine hundred seventy when he was a prosecutor in his thirty are misleading and the product of a witch hunt.

The Senate'south options for dealing with Moore:

WRITE-IN

One option below consideration would be for Republicans in AL to abandon Moore and rally around a write-in candidate, maybe Unusual or even U. S. Attorney Common Jeff Sessions, who held the seat until his proof earlier this year. Such a candidacy would be an uphill slog, particularly if Moore remains defiant and pulls a sizable vote from his impassioned base of evangelical supporters.

Even if Moore were to step aside his title would stay on the ballot — siphoning votes far from any write-in candidate — and potentially swinging the race to Jones.

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EXPLUSION

Sen. Cory Gardner, chairman of the Senate GOP'south campaign committee, said on Monday that even if Moore were to win the election, the Senate might move to expel him. If that were to occur, GOP Gov. Kay Ivey would appoint another interim senator.

The U. S. Constitution says that both House and Senate have the power to "punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member." The Senate has expelled fifteen of its members, fourteen of whom were supporters of the Confederacy, but hasn't expelled anyone since one thousand eight hundred sixty-two. More recently, members such as Bob Packwood, the OR Republican who faced charges of sexual misconduct and abuse of power, have resigned rather than face expulsion.

In theory, expulsion offers a long-shot path for establishment Republicans to reclaim the seat. But Moore would've to win the seat in the first place, and do so in the face of a potential write-in candidacy and opposition from state and national Republicans.

"It'south premature to speak about expelling someone who hasn't been elected," said No. two Senate Republican John Cornyn of Texas.

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