Though Senate rules make it possible for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to be appointed to his old Senate seat by the Alabama governor if a victorious Roy Moore is voted out by his colleagues — an idea several officials close to President Donald Trump have floated — Sessions isn’t in favor, three officials told ABC News.
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If Moore, the Republican nominee, wins in the upcoming special election, the Senate, with a two-thirds vote, could decide not to seat him. That would mean another vacancy in Alabama and an opportunity for the governor to name a replacement, possibly Sessions.
But Sessions’ return to that chamber is unlikely, multiple sources told ABC News.
One official close to Sessions told ABC News, “This is wishful thinking from people who probably don’t even know Jeff Sessions and certainly haven’t spoken to him.”
An official in the White House insisted that even though the plan has been floated, Trump continues to have confidence in Sessions as attorney general.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky today said he believes the women who have accused Moore of sexual misconduct.
Speaking at an event in his home state this morning, McConnell said he thinks Moore should drop out of the race.
When a reporter asked McConnell, “Do you believe these allegations to be true?” he responded, “I believe the women, yes.”
Meet Roy Moore, the controversial Alabama Senate candidate
McConnell said they were looking into the possibility of backing a write-in campaign for a different Republican candidate, should Moore drop out — something Moore has said he has no intention of doing.
Alabama Republican Party Chairwoman Terry Lathan spoke out on Monday and pushed back against that idea for now.
“It would be a serious error for any current elected GOP official or candidate to publicly endorse another party’s candidate, an independent, a third party or a write-in candidate in a general election as well,” she told ABC News in a statement. “I have heard of no Alabama GOP elected official or candidate that is even considering this option.”
Lathan cited so-called sore-loser rules as a way the party could keep Sen. Luther Strange or Rep. Mo Brooks, who both lost in the GOP primary, from qualifying for the ballot as a candidate against Moore.
“This committee reserves the right to deny ballot access to a candidate for public office if in a prior election that person was a Republican office holder and either publicly participated in the primary election of another political party or publicly supported a nominee of another political party,” Lathan said in the statement.
Moore has repeatedly denied the sexual misconduct allegations that were first reported by The Washington Post last week. The allegations date back decades, including a claim by a woman that he engaged in sexual activity with her when she was 14 and he was in his 30s.
He responded to McConnell, writing on Twitter, “The person who should step aside is @SenateMajLdr Mitch McConnell. He has failed conservatives and must be replaced. #DrainTheSwamp.”
Former Alabama Chief Justice Gorman Houston ran as a Republican but now considers himself an independent. He said he thinks the turnout next month will be low.
“I don’t know whether he will be elected or not,” Houston said. “I imagine there are going to be certain people who will not want to vote for the Democrat but who will not want to vote for [Moore], and I imagine that there will be a write-in. A lot of people will write in.”
But exactly who that write-in candidate might be remains unclear.
“I have heard that people would like to write in Jeff Sessions, who held that position … He is very very popular in Alabama. It was his seat,” Gorman said.