If we know one thing about Judge Roy Moore it’s this: he’s not going to willingly step aside and allow the political establishment to place someone else’s name on the ballot.
If he goes, it’ll be the same way Moore was removed from the bench – by force of law.
That’s why Republican insiders across Alabama were up late into the night Thursday trading emails, texts and telephone calls asking each other the same question: How can the party legally replace Roy Moore on the ballot?
Here are some of the options, however remote, that we learned about overnight:
— It’s too late: A spokesman for the Alabama secretary of state said “it was too late” to replace any name appearing on the December 12 ballot.
Here’s the law: “Any amendment filed after the 76th day before a primary or a general election shall be accepted by the judge of probate or the Secretary of State but shall not be cause for reprinting of the ballots,” according to the statute. “The name of a candidate who is the subject of the amendment and who is disqualified by a political party or who has withdrawn as a candidate shall remain on the ballot, not be replaced by the name of another candidate, and the appropriate canvassing board shall not certify any votes for the candidate.”
— It’s not too late: Some say that the state Republican executive committee has the power to replace a candidate on the ballot in extraordinary circumstances, even within days of an election. This may have been done in a state senate race in Mobile County in 2004 when the Republican nominee died shortly before the election. The replacement went on to win.
Others speculate the party could withdraw support and thereby void all votes for Moore, a move that could be seen as leverage to force him to withdraw and be replaced.
Talk radio airwaves were crackling with such speculation yesterday afternoon.
“With the election just more than a month away, the Alabama Republican Party Executive committee must immediately launch an investigation into these disturbing claims,” said Leland Whaley, host of the most listened to political talk show in the state, Talk 99.5 in Birmingham. “To do less would leave Alabama with a ballot crisis and potentially a botched election.”
— Light the torch and burn it all down: Former New Jersey Senator Robert “The Torch” Torricelli withdrew 35 days before his election in 2002 because of a scandal. That state’s supreme court ruled that even though the date to replace a name had passed (their limit is 51 days before an election), the ease of replacing ballots and the interest of the people voting on someone who’d actually serve in the office outweighed the statute. An exception was made, even though some hated the precedent it set.
If the party withdraws its support for Moore, could a similar argument be made to replace the ballots with another candidate’s name?
— The Guvs’ in Charge: Others believe that Governor Kay Ivy, who holds the power to call a special election, could simply postpone it and appoint another interim senator until such an election is held.
“These allegations are deeply disturbing,” Ivy said. “I will hold judgment until we know the facts. The people of Alabama deserve to know the truth and will make their own decisions.”
— Charlie Graddick 2.0: A few are even thinking of launching a write-in campaign for the sitting senator who Moore defeated in the primary run-off, Luther Strange.
Luther Strange *is* eligible as a write-in. The "sore loser" law does not prevent primary election losers from running as general election write-in candidates. From the Alabama SOS page: https://t.co/DohrR02svX pic.twitter.com/SvSxe6dTwh
— Derek T. Muller (@derektmuller) November 9, 2017
The folks over at the Jones for Senate headquarters love that last option.
Exit question: How could a pro-abortion extremist get elected to the U.S. Senate from Alabama?
The same way an unknown farmer could become the first Republican governor of Alabama since reconstruction.
The other party blew it.