Sen. Susan Collins of Maine took a tougher stance against Roy Moore’s U.S. Senate candidacy Monday, joining a growing number of prominent Republicans calling on the Alabama judge to quit the race because of allegations he had sexual contact with teenage girls when he was in his early 30s.

“I have now read Mr. Moore’s statement and listened to his radio interview in which he denies the charges. I did not find his denials to be convincing and believe that he should withdraw from the Senate race in Alabama,” Collins said in a tweet.

Not long after the tweet, another woman stepped forward to accuse Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager. She was the fifth victim to accuse Moore of misconduct in the 1970s.

Collins had issued a more measured response last week, saying in a tweet that “If there is any truth at all to these horrific allegations, Roy Moore should immediately step aside as a Senate candidate.” On Monday, Collins made it clear she believes Moore needs to abandon the race, which will be decided by Alabama voters in a special election Dec. 12.

Her statement came not long after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky had called on Moore to withdraw. “I think he should step aside,” McConnell told a reporter on Monday, when he was in Louisville, Kentucky, touting a tax reform bill before the Senate. “I believe the women, yes,” McConnell said.

Moore is a judge who was removed from the state supreme court on two occasions: for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument that he installed on court property and for urging Alabama probate judges to defy the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage. He faces Democrat Doug Jones.


The two are vying for the Senate seat left vacant when Jeff Sessions resigned to become the U.S. Attorney General under President Trump.

Last week, the Washington Post reported that four women had stepped forward to level charges that Moore, a firebrand conservative who won a Republican primary to become the party’s nominee for the seat, had pursued them when they were teenagers and Moore, now 70, was in his 30s. One of the victims said she was 14 when Moore had sexual contact with her.

The woman who came forward Monday afternoon accused Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was 16.

Moore has denied any inappropriate behavior and threatened to sue the Post.

Scott Thistle can be contacted at 713-6720 or at:

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