00:56 - Source: CNN
McConnell hints at Roy Moore replacement

Story highlights

Moore has said he's planning to stay in the race

His fate lies with voters in Alabama

Washington CNN  — 

Sean Hannity gave Roy Moore an ultimatum.

The Fox News host, among the GOP Senate hopeful’s most prominent supporters in the media, began to distance himself from Moore on Tuesday night when he gave the candidate 24 hours to explain his inconsistencies in his defense against the sexual allegations against him.

In Washington, Moore has lost the support of an ever-expanding list of Republicans that includes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Arizona Sen. John McCain, National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Cory Gardner of Colorado, Sen. Ted Cruz and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, both of Texas.

Several of Moore’s most die-hard supporters back home, however, are sticking by him, though several supporters who initially backed him have since been quiet about his candidacy in the wake of another accusation of sexual assault against him Monday afternoon. President Donald Trump has remained mum on Moore since then.

Here’s a look at who continues to stand by the embattled candidate:

  • Sources close to Breitbart chief Steve Bannon told CNN he is sticking with Moore for the seat, wanting to dispel any notions that Bannon is turning on Moore, as a Drudge Report banner suggested Wednesday.
  • Alabama Rep. Robert Aderholt is backing Moore “at this point,” but leaving some room to drop his support at a later date. “He’s denied it, but you know I’m taking it in like you are taking it in,” he told reporters Wednesday off the House floor.
  • In Alabama, a Republican group, the 5th Congressional District Republican Executive Committee, voiced its unanimous support for Moore on Wednesday, adopting a resolution supporting him as the GOP nominee.
  • Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said that as of Tuesday, he would still vote for Moore unless the mounting sex allegations were proven true. “As of today, with the information that’s been introduced to me, and if these charges are not proven to be true, then I would continue to support and vote for Judge Moore,” Merrill said on CNN’s “New Day.”
  • Moore’s attorney, Trenton Garmon, told MSNBC on Wednesday he believes Moore when the candidate says the allegations against him are false. “From who I know in Roy Moore, I know no better man,” he said. “Roy, I believe, is going to stay in (the race) and he’s denied it and that’s the proper thing to do.”
  • Moore’s campaign chairman, Bill Armistead, said he’s “doubling down” on his support for Moore. “Let’s just wait and see what happens the next few days with some of their stories, and I think it will be clear we don’t need a hearing,” Armistead said Tuesday, according to AL.com. “I just ask the voters to be patient and watch what comes out in the next few days, and I think they’ll be reassured that Judge Moore is telling the truth.”

If Moore’s name is withdrawn, there is no process to replace one candidate with another on the ballot. So if the Alabama Republican Party wanted to try to get another Republican elected, it would have to be through a write-in vote.

If Moore’s nomination is withdrawn, the state canvassing board will not certify votes for him. So should he receive the most votes after a withdrawal, they will not be counted.

Meanwhile, McConnell floated Attorney General Jeff Sessions as a write-in to take back his empty Senate seat as a replacement for Moore.

Moore continued to fight McConnell on Twitter Wednesday, responding to his write-in proposition by writing, “Mitch McConnell is attempting to subvert the will of Alabamians yet again, this time helping to elect a far-left Democrat! #alsen”

CNN’s Deirdre Walsh and Katishi Maake contributed to this report.