- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama said Sunday that he cast a write-in ballot rather than vote for Republican Roy Moore or Democrat Doug Jones in the state’s special U.S. Senate election, saying “the Republican party can do better” than Mr. Moore.

“I’d rather see the Republican win, but I [would] hope that Republican would be a write-in,” Mr. Shelby said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I couldn’t vote for Roy Moore. I didn’t vote for Roy Moore, but I wrote in a distinguished Republican name and I think a lot of people could do that,” he said. “I think the Republican party can do better.”

Several women have accused Mr. Moore, a former judge, of pursuing romantic relationships with them when they were teenage girls years ago and when he was a prosecutor in his 30s.

Mr. Shelby said a “tipping point” for him came when accusations emerged that Mr. Moore allegedly had made sexual advances on Leigh Corfman when she was a 14-year-old girl and he was 32 years old.

“I think the women are believable. I have no reason not to believe [them],” he said. “I wasn’t there. I don’t know what happened. But there’s a lot of stories there. [There’s] a lot of smoke — got to be some fire somewhere.”

Polls show a competitive race between Mr. Moore and Mr. Jones in deep-red Alabama ahead of Tuesday’s election.

President Trump has thrown his full support behind Mr. Moore, noting that he “totally denies” the allegations and that the alternative would be sending a Democrat to Washington, D.C.

“I understand where the president’s coming from,” Mr. Shelby said. “I understand we would like to retain that seat in the U.S. Senate.”

Sen. Luther Strange currently fills the seat left vacant when Attorney General Jeff Sessions joined the Trump administration, but Mr. Strange lost to Mr. Moore in the Republican primary in September.

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