Alabama Republicans are struggling to hold on to a key U.S. Senate seat. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina hopes a last-minute move could still save it.
Allegations of sexual abuse have dogged GOP candidate Roy Moore in what was already seen as a close election, and national Republicans are worried about a race that could shave their Senate majority to one.
But Graham told Brian Kilmeade on Fox News Radio Monday that he would support a legal maneuver that could get the GOP out of this jam – by triggering a whole new election.
The theory is, if current Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala. – who was appointed to replace Jeff Sessions when the former senator was appointed attorney general, and who lost to Moore in the GOP primary – resigns his seat ahead of the Dec. 12 special election, he would trigger a brand new special election.
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“We’re about to give away a seat that can determine the future of Trump’s agenda,” Graham said. “And I hope the good people of Alabama on the Republican side will try to find a way to pick a nominee that can represent the conservative cause in an effective way.”
The idea of a new special election has reportedly been floated by aides to GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as they try to find a way to salvage the Alabama election. However, Politico reports that Republicans are cautious because it is “uncertain whether such a move, one of several options being discussed, is even possible.”
Alabama news site AL.com doubts Strange would resign to go along with the plan, and when asked about the possibility, Alabama’s GOP Gov. Kay Ivey ruled out scheduling a new election.
“Were he to resign I would simply appoint somebody to fill the remaining time until we have the election on Dec. 12,” Ivey said.
Republicans need to find a way to win, Graham said, because a victory for Democratic candidate Doug Jones in what was otherwise a safe GOP seat would upend Republican plans on Capitol Hill.
“This Jones guy’s not going to help us on anything that Trump wants to do," South Carolina’s senior senator said.
And Graham clearly places little hope in Moore, who was reportedly once banned from an Alabama mall for inappropriate behavior toward young women.
“If you can't go to a mall in Alabama, maybe you shouldn't go to the Senate," Graham told Kilmeade.