Politics

Write-In Candidate Would Be ‘Serious Error,’ AL GOP Chairwoman Says

Talk of a write-in campaign followed allegations of sexual misconduct against Roy Moore

Judge Roy Moore campaign worker Maggie Ford collects signs after the U.S. Senate candidate forum held by the Shelby County Republican Party in Pelham, Ala., on Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It would be a “serious error” for Republican officeholders to support a write-in candidate in the Senate race, the chairwoman of the Alabama Republican Party said in a statement.

Speculation of a write-in campaign mounted following allegations of sexual misconduct against Roy Moore, the GOP candidate. 

“It would be a serious error for any current elected GOP official or candidate to publicly endorse another party’s candidate, an independent, a third party or a write in candidate in a general election as well,” Alabama GOP Chairwoman Terry Lathan said. “I have heard of no Alabama GOP elected official or candidate that is even considering this option.”

[Get weekly campaign coverage from Roll Call delivered to your inbox: Sign up for At the Races]

The comments, first reported Monday by Alabama Political Reporter, are the first Lathan has made since the Washington Post published a story last week citing four women who claimed Roy Moore made inappropriate sexual advances while they were teenagers and Moore was in his thirties. A fifth accuser came forward Monday and said Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16.

Who in Congress Is Pushing Roy Moore to Drop Senate Bid?

The news has sparked speculation about a potential write-in candidate, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicating Monday that Republicans were exploring that option. Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed to the Alabama Senate seat and lost to Moore in the GOP primary, had been considering a run but said Monday night it was “highly unlikely” he would run as a write-in candidate. 

Lathan’s statement appeared to warn GOP officials who support another candidate in the Senate race that they could be denied access to the ballot in subsequent elections. She pointed to the party’s rule for denying ballot access, meaning the party can bar someone from running on the ballot as a Republican.

The rule states that the party’s executive committee can deny ballot access to a candidate “if in a prior election that person was a Republican office holder and either publicly participated in the primary election of another political party, or publicly supported a nominee of another political party,” Lathan said.

Anyone who falls under that provision would be denied access to the ballot for six years.

Lathan has yet to comment on whether the party is considering withdrawing Moore as the GOP nominee in light of the allegations. It is too late to remove Moore’s name from the ballot ahead of the Dec. 12 election. But if the party withdrew him as the nominee, votes for Moore would not count.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.