Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, said Roy Moore, the controversial Alabama Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, should “step aside” in the wake of a report that he allegedly initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was in his 30s.
“The party ought not to be for this,” Kasich told “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz in an interview Friday airing Sunday. “He should step aside.”
Moore has vehemently denied the allegations made in a Washington Post report Thursday by four women, including the one who accused Moore of initiating a sexual encounter with her when she was 14 in the late 1970s. The three other women allege in the story that Moore pursued them when they were between 16 and 18 years old and he was in his 30s.
“This article is a prime example of fake news, an attempt to divert attention from the true issues which affect our country, like health care, military readiness, tax reform, immigration, and national debt,” Moore said at an event Saturday in Alabama. “We do not intend to let the Democrats or the established Republicans or anybody else behind this story stop this campaign.”
Kasich said on “This Week” that although Moore has the right to defend himself against the allegations, he should withdraw from the Senate race.
“It’s just really a matter as to whether he ought to be the candidate, the standard bearer of the Republican Party, and I just think he shouldn’t be,” Kasich said. “He can continue to defend himself, but I think, at the end, the party ought not to be for this.”
Kasich dismissed the the Moore campaign’s assertion that the allegations are politically motivated.
“This is not about Obama or left wing. I just don’t believe that it is, and I’m saddened by it. I’m the father of two twin daughters, and I just think it’s inappropriate, and I would just, really would like it if he stepped aside,” said the Ohio governor, who vied unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for president in 2016.
Kasich tweeted Friday that he has “long opposed” Moore and that the allegations in the Post report make the former Alabama judge “unfit for office.”
Even if Moore formally drops out of the race, it’s too late for his name to be taken off the ballot. According to the Alabama secretary of state’s office, a candidate’s name can be removed from the ballot only if the request is made no later than 76 days before the election. The Alabama Senate election is on Dec. 12, a little more than 30 days away.
Raddatz asked Kasich if he can imagine Democrats winning the Senate seat in Alabama, which was vacated by Republican Jeff Sessions when he became U.S. attorney general.
“Well, I don’t know,” he said. “But, you know, everything in life can’t be about you know who wins an election.”
He also alluded to the possibility that another Republican, such as current Alabama Sen. Luther Strange who lost to Moore in the primary, could run a write-in campaign.
“Lisa Murkowski ran as a write-in candidate in Alaska and she won, so let’s see where it goes,” the governor said.