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David Perdue: Roy Moore should exit Ala. Senate race if allegations true

WASHINGTON -- Georgia's junior U.S. senator cast doubt on the political future of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore on Thursday, shortly after allegations surfaced that the Republican initiated sexual encounters with a 14-year-old girl several decades ago.

Republican David Perdue said Moore should withdraw from the special election to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions if the Washington Post's reporting about the former judge proves to be true.

“It’s early, we don’t know all the facts, obviously. But these allegations are very serious and if they’re true then in my opinion he should step down and withdraw from the race," Perdue said in an interview taped Thursday that will air Sunday on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers."

Several of Perdue's Senate Republican colleagues echoed his remarks on Thursday, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Their response came hours after the Post published a story detailing Moore's prior relationships with four girls under the age of 18, including a woman who said Moore made sexual advances on her when she was just 14.

Georgia U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson was unavailable to comment on Thursday afternoon.

Moore fiercely denied the allegations and on Thursday did not say whether he would step aside.

Perdue had offered his support to Moore after the firebrand won the Alabama Republican Senate runoff in late September, besting the more establishment-oriented Luther Strange.

"I look forward to working with him to advance President Donald J. Trump's agenda," Perdue said of Moore in a Sept. 27 Facebook post. "Now let's all unite behind Roy so we can keep our majority and continue working to make America great again."

Asked Thursday about whether Strange should mount a write-in bid for the seat, Perdue said its a possibility that's being discussed in Washington.

"It’s not impossible," he said.

"Let’s see what happens on the facts and how Judge Moore reacts to it," he added.

Alabama voters are scheduled to pick Sessions' successor on Dec. 12.

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.