Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey plans to vote for Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore in spite of allegations that the former judge sexually assaulted multiple women.
"I'm going to cast my ballot on December the 12th, and I do believe the nominee of the party is the one I'll vote for," the governor told reporters on Friday, according to AL.com. Ivey was responding to questions from reporters after an annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon event at the governor's mansion.
"I believe in the Republican Party, what we stand for, and, most important, we need to have a Republican in the United States Senate to vote on things like the Supreme Court justices, other appointments the Senate has to confirm and make major decisions," she said. "So that's what I plan to do, vote for Republican nominee Roy Moore."
At least nine women have come forward with accusations against Moore ranging from harassment to sexual assault. Four came forward in a Washington Post report published last week, saying that Moore pursued them when they were in their teens and he was in his 30s.
One of those women, Leigh Corfman, said she was just 14 when Moore drove her to his home into a wooded area, where he kissed and groped her.
A fifth woman, Beverly Young Nelson, shared a disturbing story about Moore during a news conference with attorney Gloria Allred earlier this week. Nelson said that while she was working as a waitress at age 16, Moore offered to give her a ride home but instead drove to a secluded area and sexually assaulted her. He was serving as an assistant district attorney in Etowah County at the time.
Kelly Harrison Thorp said she was working as a waitress at age 17 when Moore asked her out, allegedly telling her, "I go out with girls your age all the time," according to a report by AL.com.
Tina Johnson told AL.com earlier this week that Moore groped her in 1991 as she was visiting his law office regarding custody paperwork for her son.
Two other women shared stories about Moore in a report published by the Post on Wednesday, saying the incidents occurred when the women worked at an Alabama mall as young adults. Gena Richardson said Moore repeatedly asked her out around the time of her 18th birthday. She initially denied his request but finally agreed to a date, but it ended in what she described as a "forceful" kiss that left her scared. The other woman, Becky Gray, said that when she was 22, Moore repeatedly pressed her for a date in a way that made her uncomfortable.
Moore has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has attempted to discredit his accusers.
Asked whether she believed the women's stories, Ivey told reporters: "I certainly have no reason to disbelieve any of them. The timing is a little curious. But at the same time, I have no reason to disbelieve them."
Ivey did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.
Several prominent Republicans ― including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) ― have said Moore should leave the Senate race. President Donald Trumpweighed in through White House press secretary Sarah Sanders to say "that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside."
The Alabama Republican Party announced Thursday it was standing by Moore, saying the former judge should be "presumed innocent" unless proved guilty.