Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore has managed to retain some support from local Republicans in the wake of allegations he mistreated several women in the late 1970's and early 1980's, but one group just yanked its endorsement.
The Greater Birmingham Young Republicans on Thursday voted to formally censure Moore, who continues to insist on his innocence, and revoked its previous support for his candidacy. The resolution passed by members was firm, asserting Moore had failed "to provide credible evidence or explanation to discredit these allegations." And that's a very fair point, one echoed by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who observed on Wednesday that Moore "faces specific, credible allegations and he hasn’t offered a specific, credible defense."
"The Greater Birmingham Young Republicans believe in innocence until proven guilty but not electability until proven guilty," the resolution said (emphasis in the original), perhaps providing some helpful language for others struggling to reconcile their commitment to the former with the allegations leveled against Moore. The resolution also maintained that the failure to believe "consistent credible stories from multiple victims" has allowed "many immoral individuals have risen to power."
One day earlier, the steering committee of the state Republican Party affirmed its support for Moore, choosing to take no action on his candidacy at a Wednesday meeting. In a statement, the committee's chairman said it "trusts the voters as they make the ultimate decision in this crucial race."
Meanwhile, in their resolution on Thursday the Young Republicans called on the steering committee to "censure and revoke any support" for Moore's Senate bid.
While the race has dominated national news cycles, developments in local politics are obviously of greater significance, especially as Moore supporters have chafed at the outpouring of attention from out-of-state observers. Even as national politicians and organizations have steadily withdrawn their support, Moore has refused to back down. Increased local pressure, perhaps, is what could really make the difference.