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RNC reverses course, backs Roy Moore after pulling support

| Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, 10:09 p.m.
Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks at a campaign rally, in Dora, Ala.
Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks at a campaign rally, in Dora, Ala.

WASHINGTON — The Republican National Committee is reversing course and once again backing Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, after initially pulling its support following allegations of sexual misconduct.

The reversal, first reported by the far-right Breitbart News and confirmed by a senior RNC official, comes the same day President Trump formally endorsed Moore. The race has been rocked by accusations that Moore made sexual advances toward underage girls while he was in his 30s. He has denied the allegations.

The senior RNC official said details on the RNC's efforts in Alabama were forthcoming. According to Breitbart News, the committee will provide financial support. This was confirmed by the RNC official.

In the aftermath of the allegations, the RNC severed ties with Moore, withdrawing from a joint fundraising committee with his campaign and the Alabama GOP. It is not clear if the RNC will rejoin the committee. There were no new Federal Election Commission filings indicating a change as of Monday night.

Moore has drastically trailed Democratic opponent Doug Jones in fundraising. According to pre-special election filings released last Friday, Jones had raised $10.2 million to Moore's nearly $1.8 million.

The move puts the RNC at odds with the Senate Republican campaign arm, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which also withdrew from the joint fundraising committee. NRSC Chairman Cory Gardner has called on Moore to step aside as the nominee, and said Moore should be expelled from the Senate if elected.

RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said shortly after the allegations broke nearly four weeks ago, "The recent allegations against Judge Moore are deeply troubling. He should step aside if there is any truth to them at all."

But the president's decision to back Moore despite the allegations likely brought the RNC back into the race, given that Trump is the de-facto head of the party.

Moore will face Jones, a former U.S. attorney, in the Dec. 12 special election for the seat former Sen. Jeff Sessions vacated to become attorney general. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the contest a toss-up.

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