Stay Updated on Developing Stories

McConnell proposes Sessions as a write-in to replace Moore

Story highlights
  • McConnell floated AG Jeff Sessions as a write-in candidate in the Alabama Senate race
  • If he ran, Sessions would be running for his old Senate seat

Washington(CNN) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell floated Attorney General Jeff Sessions as a replacement for Roy Moore, the Alabama Senate candidate accused of sexual misconduct and assault of teenagers when he was in his 30s.

McConnell brought up the idea Tuesday night at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council's annual meeting in Washington, proposing Sessions as a write-in candidate to take back his old Senate seat. He cited Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, as a successful example of a write-in campaign.

"It appears as if the only option would be a write-in and that's very seldom successful, although we've had an example of it in 2010. Lisa Murkowski from Alaska lost the primary, ran a write-in campaign in the general election and actually won," he said.

Like Murkowski, McConnell said Sessions is popular enough in his home state to defeat Moore.

"So, why did she win? She was totally well-known and extremely popular. And the name being the most often discussed may not be available, but the Alabamian who would fit that standard would be the attorney general, who is totally well-known and extremely popular in Alabama," he said.

Moore has made no public indication he plans to leave the race, so a push for a write-in candidacy threatens to split the GOP ticket. Sessions also hasn't displayed any public interest in returning to the Senate.

But the longshot path to a Sessions victory would serve two purposes for the GOP: the party would retain the seat, and Sessions would leave the Department of Justice after months of public criticism by President Donald Trump over his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation and not prosecute Trump's political enemies.

McConnell denounced Moore's alleged behavior earlier this week, saying he believed the women who came forward with accusations. The Senate majority leader also said he spoke with Trump about the situation.

Moore continues to deny the accusations, and has threatened to sue The Washington Post for publishing a story that initially surfaced the allegations.

McConnell, at the CEO Council meeting, suggested Trump is keeping a close eye on Moore's story.

"That obviously would be a big move for him and for the President. As the President is winding his way back to the United States, I'm confident this is an issue they're discussing in great detail," McConnell said.