Politics Roy Moore, Long Divisive in His Hometown, and Even More So Now

00:52  15 november  2017
00:52  15 november  2017 Source:   The New York Times

How Roy Moore could flip deep-red Alabama

  How Roy Moore could flip deep-red Alabama As allegations of sexual misconduct against Roy Moore multiply and polls suggest he could lose the senate race, a closer look at how Alabama voters view Moore.But a look at Moore's last general election in the state shows its voters may be a bit more complicated than that - and December's senate race could be as well.

“ Roy Moore — if he did it, that’s between him and God.” Gadsden has a long blue-collar history But even in a place that has long ago been polarized over Mr. Moore , there are hints of nagging doubt among his supporters, and admissions by critics that they still want more clarity about the allegations.

— Delores Abney, 63, a retired domestic violence counselor, said she and her husband had heard things about Roy Moore and his interest in Gadsden has a long blue-collar history, sustained for most of the last century by textile mills, a steel mill — now closed — and a tire-manufacturing plant.

a group of people sitting at a table: Beverly Young Nelson, left, with her lawyer Gloria Allred, during a news conference on Monday where she accused Mr. Moore of sexually assaulting her. © Spencer Platt/Getty Images North America Beverly Young Nelson, left, with her lawyer Gloria Allred, during a news conference on Monday where she accused Mr. Moore of sexually assaulting her.

GADSDEN, Ala. — Delores Abney, 63, a retired domestic violence counselor, said she and her husband had heard things about Roy Moore and his interest in younger women, for years.

On Monday night, Ms. Abney said she recalled Mr. Moore, the embattled Republican Senate candidate, being a regular presence in the mid-1980s at the Y.M.C.A. There, she said, he was often talking to much younger women — women that “appeared to be high school on up,” she said — in an exercise class she was enrolled in. “I’m not saying he was trying to pick them up. It just did not look appropriate.”

Roy Moore: ‘These allegations are completely false’

  Roy Moore: ‘These allegations are completely false’ Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore said Friday that the allegations regarding his sexual misconduct with 14-year-old girl in 1979 are "completely false.""These allegations are completely false and misleading," he told Sean Hannity on his radio show.

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“I truly believe these women,” Ms. Abney added of the women who have come forward to accuse him of misconduct in recent days. “This type of behavior is highly unacceptable and deplorable in our leaders.”

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But the Abneys are also Democrats and longtime critics of Mr. Moore and his hard-line take on Christian values. The emergence on Monday of a new accuser, who said Mr. Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16, only cemented their views of him. Etowah County, the largely rural slice of northeast Alabama where Mr. Moore was raised and currently lives, was bitterly divided about Mr. Moore before the allegations. And it remains so now.

Rumors that once simmered at a low level of his interest in young women, which was mostly deemed moderately creepy rather than criminal, are now clogging Facebook feeds, dominating talk at fast-food restaurants and generating endless gossip.

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Even if his party and many of its adherents still think it possible, it is unthinkable — for his state, and his country. New York Times: Roy Moore , Long Divisive in His Hometown , and Even More So Now .

Disallowed Key Characters. Issues that had long divided North from South finally erupted in blows.

Mr. Moore, many people say, clearly had a fondness for younger women in decades past. When he got married to his wife, Kayla in 1985, he was 38 and she was 24. But around Gadsden, a city of 36,000 in the foothills along the Coosa River, opinions about the recent allegations tend to follow lines that were etched long before.

“I simply cannot believe it,” said Albert Morgan, 92, a retired pastor who was sitting down to a meal of chicken and potatoes to celebrate his daughter’s birthday. “He went to West Point, and then he was in the Vietnam War. He’s very intelligent. I’ve always admired and respected him.”

Mr. Morgan’s daughter, Sheila Christian, who had just turned 68, said she was deeply suspicious of the accusers.

“Let’s look at these people’s past,” Ms. Christian, who works in a doctor’s office, said. “Roy Moore — if he did it, that’s between him and God.”

Gadsden has a long blue-collar history, sustained for most of the last century by textile mills, a steel mill — now closed — and a tire-manufacturing plant. It is also a city of churchgoers.

Alabama pastor supporting Moore: 'More women are sexual predators than men'

  Alabama pastor supporting Moore: 'More women are sexual predators than men' An Alabama pastor who supports Senate candidate Roy Moore (R) blasted the allegations of sexual harassment against Moore, saying they're part of a "war on men.""More women are sexual predators than men," Pastor Franklin Raddish told AL.com. "Women are chasing young boys up and down th e road, but we don't hear about that because it's not PC."The news organization spoke to Raddish as part of an effort to speak with every pastor that endorsed Moore before the allegations against him were made public. Nineteen of the 29 pastors who responded told AL.com they were still supporting Moore.

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And, as a matter of fact, it is too late most likely to get Roy Moore off the ballot. MCKINNON: Or that it would happen a long time ago and [trails off]. DEL PERCIO: Even worse. I mean, does he take any responsibility for Roy Moore ? That was his hand-picked candidate .

But it is not a well of unfettered support for Mr. Moore. In a runoff for the Republican Senate nomination in September, Mr. Moore won 57 percent of the vote in the county — less than he earned in 42 of Alabama’s other 66 counties. It is easier to find signs for his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, than for Mr. Moore.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Roy Moore prayed before speaking at the Vestavia Hills Public Library on Saturday. © Brynn Anderson/Associated Press Roy Moore prayed before speaking at the Vestavia Hills Public Library on Saturday. But even in a place that has long ago been polarized over Mr. Moore, there are hints of nagging doubt among his supporters, and admissions by critics that they still want more clarity about the allegations.

On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that a woman said Mr. Moore had a sexual encounter with her in 1979, when she was 14 years old, and he was 32. Three other women told the paper that Mr. Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18. On Monday at a news conference in New York, a fifth woman, Beverly Young Nelson, alleged that Mr. Moore violently sexually assaulted her in Etowah County when she was 16 years old.

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  Moore says he'll remain in Senate race, blasts McConnell Republican Roy Moore says he'll remain in Alabama Senate race, accuses GOP leader McConnell of trying to 'steal' seat.A defiant Moore appeared at a news conference on Thursday to reiterate that he would be staying in the Alabama race.

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Moore ’s long history of incendiary, divisive , and hateful rhetoric — as well as lawless behavior — is Sure enough, he quickly thumbed his nose at the federal judiciary again; this time ordering probate judges Quite simply, it’s hard to find a candidate more clearly unfit for federal office than Roy Moore .

Mr. Moore’s campaign has denied that he engaged in “any sexual misconduct with anyone.”

“I don’t see him backing down,” said Wanda Fugatt, 48, who works at a store along Broad Street. The timing of all this was fishy, she said, and the accusers would have been more believable if they had come forward six months earlier. She said she hopes that Mr. Moore wins and she did not think he would step out of the race, as many Republican leaders have called on him to do. Unless.

“Unless he is sitting there completely guilty, knowing that he’s completely guilty,” she said. “Then I say he may take himself out of the race. But not yet. No, it ain’t time yet.”

Those who insist they are not politically aligned with Mr. Moore have their own questions about the recent allegations.

“I think it’s a little weird that they’re coming up 40 years later and making these accusations.” said B.J. Morris, 79, a retired professor on her way out of a Chick-fil-A. Still, she said, “I believe it’s true.”

Kathy Fowler, who processes tax credits and who was smoking a cigarette outside of a pub as darkness fell on Monday night, said the newest accuser had made her even more sure of Mr. Moore’s guilt.

“If it was one, I might question it,” she said. “Now they’re popping up. One did a news conference — that holds a lot of ground with me.”

'Women for Moore' to rally outside Alabama capitol

  'Women for Moore' to rally outside Alabama capitol Roy Moore will host a "Women for Moore" press conference on Friday, where women supporting the Alabama GOP Senate candidate will speak on his behalf as his campaign attempts to recover from allegations of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls from years ago.An announcement posted on the An announcement posted on the Facebook page of Moore's wife Kayla encourages supporters to "join women from the state of Alabama who know Judge Roy Moore and have the courage to stand with him and his family against salacious accusations of s*xual misconduct.

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Like many here, her decision about whether or not to support Mr. Moore was already made.

“He’s not going to get my vote,” she said. “But he wasn’t going to get it anyway.”

Billy Smith, an insurance salesman, said he did not know what to do with the information. The allegations were just allegations, he said, not proven in a court of law.

“If he did the crime, obviously it’s disgusting and that breaks my heart for anyone that suffered,” he said. “The other thing is, it’s a little suspicious at this point because it’s taken so long for things to come out.”

Mr. Smith, a Republican, had decided earlier that Mr. Moore was “not intellectually sound enough” to be a Senator. But he was also strongly anti-abortion, and could not fathom voting for a Democrat. He said he might sit the December 12 election out.

Whatever happens in the election, stories long murmured around Gadsden are now out and have to be reckoned with. For some here, the controversy that comes along with that may not have been worth it.

“American people have become a bucket of crabs,” said John Leach, 51, who was reclining at his desk behind a warren of jewelry cases in a shop in downtown Gadsden. “Everybody’s trying to grab each other, destroy each other.”

“Do I think he did it? I think something went on,” Mr. Leach continued. Still, he said, his accusers should have come forward years ago. Or, maybe they should have kept to themselves. Just because long-buried bad things are true does not mean they should be unburied.

“I’m a black guy, 51 years old,” Mr. Leach said. “What would it be like if I started digging up racism? It would be a mess, it would keep it going on and on. Let’s just leave the bones in the cemetery.”

RNC cuts fundraising ties with Roy Moore .
The Republican National Committee (RNC) has cut fundraising ties with GOP Senate hopeful Roy Moore. The new Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings follow allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore by five women, two of whom accused him of sexual misconduct with them when they were minors. The new Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings follow allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore by five women, two of whom accused him of sexual misconduct with them when they were minors.

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