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Friday November 17th, 2017 6:18PM

The Latest: Moore refuses to quit Alabama Senate race

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Roy Moore, the GOP nominee for the Senate in Alabama (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

Republican Roy Moore is showing no willingness to step away from the Alabama Senate race.

Moore is answering GOP critics who say he should end his Alabama Senate candidacy if he engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with minors four decades ago, as The Washington Post reported Thursday.

Moore says on the Sean Hannity radio show that if candidates step aside due to accusations, "you might as well not run, because when you run you're going to get allegations." He says people are "innocent until proven guilty."

The Post reported that when Moore was 32, he took a 14-year-old girl to his home and touched her bra and underpants. Moore denies that.

He says he's doing his own investigation and has "some evidence of collusion here." He is revealing no details.

__

4:20 p.m.

Alabama Republican Roy Moore is vehemently denying a Washington Post report alleging decades-old sexual misconduct with minors.

In a statement released Friday, Moore says he never provided alcohol to minors and "never engaged in sexual misconduct."

The Senate candidate says: "As a father of a daughter and a grandfather of five granddaughters, I condemn the actions of any man who engages in sexual misconduct not just against minors but against any woman."

He says he is strongly urging the Post, which published the report based on on-the-record statements, to "tell the truth."

Washington Republicans have called for Moore to step aside if the allegations are true.

___

4 p.m.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill says Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore's name cannot be removed from the ballot this close to the election.

Merrill said Friday that if the party chose to disqualify Moore, it was too late to remove him from the ballot.

The special election Dec. 12 pits Moore against Democrat Doug Jones.

Moore, a 70-year-old former state Supreme Court justice, has defiantly denied allegations of decades-old sexual misconduct with minors. The Washington Post reported the allegations Thursday.

The revelations triggered a sharp backlash from would-be Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill, who called on Moore to quit the race if the allegations were true.

___

3:35 p.m.

Alabama's Republican national committeeman says allegations of sexual impropriety against Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore are a "sinister" attempt to derail his candidacy.

Paul Reynolds tells The Associated Press: "This is a firestorm designed to shipwreck a campaign in Alabama. I think it's sinister."

Reynolds says the timing of the allegations in a report from The Washington Post is too coincidental, with only a month left in the campaign.

Reynolds supports Moore and says if the candidate steps down now, that would mean surrendering to Democrat Doug Jones.

Reynolds says, "This is a deliberate effort to discourage the campaign from being able to put together the team it needs to carry forward."

___

2:30 p.m.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is ending its fundraising agreement with Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore in light of allegations of sexual contact with a teenager decades ago.

The group had been part of a fundraising committee that includes the Alabama Republican Party and the Republican National Committee. The information was in a filing to the Federal Election Commission on Friday.

The step comes as Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have called on Moore to step aside in the Alabama Senate race if the allegations are true.

Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado is chairman of the NRSC, the campaign arm of the Senate GOP.

Moore has been defiant, insisting he would not quit the race for the Dec. 12 special election for Attorney General Jeff Sessions' former seat.

___

3:45 a.m.

Republicans are not supposed to worry about Alabama.

But in the span of a tumultuous afternoon on Thursday, a low-profile special election became a Republican nightmare that threatens a once-safe Senate seat. And it offers a new window into ugly divisions that continue to plague the GOP in the age of President Donald Trump.

Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore is denying allegations of decades-old sexual misconduct with minors published Thursday in a Washington Post story. The revelations come a month before the Dec. 12 special election, and they're triggering a backlash from would-be Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill, who are calling on the 70-year-old conservative Christian to quit the race if the allegations are true.

It's a bittersweet moment for some Republicans who thought Moore never should have been the party's nominee.

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