The Republican National Committee is pulling its support of GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore after five women came forward to accuse Moore of sexual misconduct, Politico reported Tuesday. All of the women said they were teenagers when Moore, then in his thirties and an assistant district attorney in Alabama, pursued them for dates.
A senior party official told Politico that the RNC is shutting down its field operation for Moore in Alabama — which included around a dozen paid canvassers — as well as ending a joint fundraising agreement it shared with Moore.
The move leaves Moore increasingly estranged from the Republican establishment. Most Republican senators were able to agree Moore should leave the race “if the allegations were true,” and after the fifth woman came forward, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters, “I believe the women” and asked Moore to step aside. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has also said he “has no reason to doubt” the accusers.
One of the women told the Washington Post that she was 14, which was under Alabama’s age of consent, when Moore molested her. Another woman, who was 16 at the time, says Moore trapped her in a car and forcibly groped her before driving away, leaving her lying in a parking lot.
“You are a child. I am the district attorney of Etiwah County,” the woman said Moore told her. “If you tell anyone about this, no one will believe you.”
Moore was also banned from a shopping mall in Gadsden, Alabama in the 1980s, residents told the New Yorker, where locals say his behavior around teenage girls was an open secret and a problem.
“The general knowledge at the time when I moved here was that this guy is a lawyer cruising the mall for high-school dates,” one police officer told the New Yorker. Another added, “I was told by a girl who worked at the mall that he’d been run off from there, from a number of stores. Maybe not legally banned, but run off. … I heard from one girl who had to tell the manager of a store at the mall to get Moore to leave her alone.”
Moore has denied all wrongdoing and dismissed the accusations as liberal propaganda. He has also reportedly told his campaign staff that he plans to remain in the race.
Republicans also haven’t publicly announced what they plan to do about Moore’s Senate race. At this point, it’s impossible to remove Moore’s name from the ballots, which means Republicans may need to attempt a write-in campaign for either Sen. Luthor Strange, who currently holds the seat but lost to Moore in the Republican primaries, or Jeff Sessions, who held the seat until he became attorney general.
The RNC didn’t immediately return VICE News’ request for comment.