Roy Moore was never a good candidate to serve Alabama in the U.S. Senate. Today, due to his past political history of being twice removed from office and recent allegations of sexual misconduct and romantic encounters with teenage girls some four decades ago, he’s the worst candidate for the office.

Mr. Moore, it’s time to step aside and let the Alabama Republican Party offer another candidate to voters in the Dec. 12 special election.

We join the growing list of believers of the women who accused Moore of sexual misconduct, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who occupied the Senate seat Moore is seeking to fill.

This is not intended as an endorsement of any other candidate, on the ballot or not.

Moore’s lame responses to the claims against him don’t ring true, blaming everybody under the sun, from the Republican establishment to Democrat liberals to anti-Christian forces to the women he says he never knew or met.

A chorus of disbelieving supporters and the troubled state Republican Party are crying foul over the reports Moore made sexual advances on a 14-year-old, dated teenage girls and attempted to have sex with a 16-year-old against her will in the late 1970s.

Yet many residents around Gadsden, where Moore worked as an Etowah County assistant district attorney when the allegations originated, say it was common knowledge he pursued teenage girls for dates. According to an AL.com report, several residents recall Moore being a problem at the local mall because he often made advances toward girls too young for a man in his 30s.

The loudest objection to the accusations against Moore is the timing; that they are politically motivated and intended to discredit him a month before the election.

The outrage purposely misses the point. Consistency and specificity of the women’s stories is significant and on point. Moore is a candidate for the U.S. Senate, one of the highest elected offices in the land. His past conduct is relevant to the present decision before Alabama voters.

Moore can hide behind a shield of religion and lash out at national Republican leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who have called for him to step aside. But even many of Moore’s own townsfolk are not buying his self-proclaimed innocence.

As we have previously stated, the former jurist should have left Alabama’s political front porch when he was ousted from office a second time after directing Alabama probate judges to ignore a U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriage.

As Alabama Supreme Court chief justice, Moore was simply too stubborn to fulfill the duties of the office. Moore held a position based on a bastion of fairness for all Alabama residents, which he failed to follow. From his jurist bench, Moore’s view of fairness has always been reserved for whoever agreed with him.

The accusations against Moore are gravely serious. Alabama doesn’t need a senator with a tarnished history. The stories of his predatory nature with teenagers are alarming on moral and cultural grounds.

Our culture toward sexual harassment and abuse is changing. Still, coming forward years after being abused remain difficult, challenging and often humiliating. For Moore and others to mock or ridicule these women for having the courage to stand up to a man poised to ascend to the U.S. Senate is wrong and nothing short of bullying.

It’s time for Moore to stop verbally attacking his accusers, who he claims are on a “witch hunt,” quit being a narcissist and do what’s best for Alabama and vacate his Senate campaign. It’s the right thing to do.

—The Cullman Times (Cullman, Alabama)

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