Sen. Jeff Flake: I would rather vote for a Democrat than Roy Moore
PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) amplified the call for Roy Moore to bow out of the race for Alabama Senate on Monday, hours after a second woman came forward with claims that Moore sexually assaulted her as a teenager.
Flake told a group of reporters that he would vote outside of his own party before voting for Moore — and encouraged other Republicans to do the same, according to The Washington Examiner.
“If the choice is between Roy Moore and a Democrat — the Democrat, no doubt,” Flake said. “I would literally — if I were in Alabama — I would run to the polling place to vote for the Democrat.”
The Arizona senator went a bit further in his statement, telling reporters that he would move to expel Moore if he got elected, but he doesn’t think “it will come to that.”
Flake addressed reporters shortly after Beverly Young Nelson came forward as the second woman to allege Moore, who is running for a seat left vacant by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, of sexually assaulting her as a teenager.
Nelson said she was 16 and working as a waitress at a Gadsden, Alabama, restaurant when Moore — who was a county prosecutor at the time — offered to give her a ride home.
Moore then allegedly parked behind the restaurant and touched her breasts and locked the door to keep her inside. She said he squeezed her neck while trying to push her head toward his crotch and tried to pull her shirt off.
This was not the first time the Arizona senator spoke out against Moore.
After The Washington Post reported last week that Moore had inappropriate contact with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32, Flake said that he ought to step aside “if there is any shred of truth to these stories.”
Flake expressed some regret over his initial statement to reporters on Monday, telling them that he gave those comments before reading the Post article but adding that he believes the women who have come forward with their claims.
So far, a total of five women — including Nelson — have come forward with accusations that Moore had made sexual or romantic advances toward them, either while they were underage or of age.
In addition, a local Alabama newspaper published a report on Monday that said locals in Gadsden, Alabama, knew of Moore’s tendency to flirt with teen girls and that he often trolled a local mall to find young women.
Moore has denied all of the allegations and has so far shown no signs of bowing out of the Senate race.
He assured supporters Sunday night at a Huntsville, Alabama, gym that the Post article was “fake news” and “a desperate attempt to stop my political campaign.”
He said allegations that he was involved with a minor are “untrue” and the newspaper “will be sued.”
The former judge also questioned why such allegations would be leveled for the first time so close to the special election in spite of his decades in public life.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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