Senate Republicans are escalating their demands for embattled Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore to leave the race, including a growing faction calling for him to be expelled if he wins next month.
But some senior Republicans are wary that the chorus of anti-Moore sentiment from Washington will only embolden Moore and his supporters. The former Alabama Supreme Court justice won the Republican primary battering Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP establishment.
Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, raised the specter of expulsion in a Monday statement. Later, retiring Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona told reporters he would support Democrat Doug Jones over Moore and that expelling Moore should remain on the table.
But other top party leaders weren’t as quick to embrace the idea of expelling Moore from the chamber, which has been attempted but not completed in well more than a century and could raise serious questions about the Senate defying the will of voters. Other Republicans fear the precedent of booting a senator who hasn’t violated any Senate rules or is not facing criminal charges.