Many Republicans in Washington are breathing a not-so-quiet sigh of relief after their party’s candidate, Roy Moore, lost the Alabama Senate race to Democrat Doug Jones on Tuesday night. Had Moore been elected, it would have put many members in an awkward spot, as Moore has been accused of having pursued, molested, and assaulted teenage girls.
As recently as Tuesday night, Republicans had planned to gather Wednesday morning if Moore won the election to discuss the best course of action. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reportedly said himself that if Moore was elected, he would immediately need to undergo an ethics probe.
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) admitted that while he’s upset about having lost the Alabama seat to the rival party, he is “relieved we’re not going to be dealing with all the mess that was headed our way.” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) agreed, saying he was “proud” of Alabama’s choice and “relieved” to have dodged the Moore bullet. Or, as a senior Republican strategist put it to the Washington Examiner: “We didn’t just dodge a bullet, we dodged a missile.”
Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake (R) also expressed his satisfaction with the results of the election:
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) December 13, 2017
Ohio governor and former Republican presidential candidate John Kasich summed it up: “Thankfully, today enough Republicans chose country over party,” he tweeted. “Tomorrow we must redouble our efforts to support candidates worthy of the office they seek.”