The two Republicans running for Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate seat sharpened their criticisms of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore Tuesday, with Leah Vukmir saying the allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore were credible and “should disqualify anyone from serving in public office.”
Kevin Nicholson, meanwhile, stopped short of calling for Moore to end his campaign, but said that if he were an Alabama voter, he “would want Roy Moore to move out of the race.”
Both comments came after U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker joined in the call by other GOP leaders for Moore to step aside.
The Washington Post reported last week that Moore initiated a sexual encounter with a girl when he was 32 and she was 14. That story also quoted three other women who said Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s.
Vukmir, a state Senator from Brookfield, and Nicholson, a businessman and former Marine, both told the Associated Press last week that Moore should step aside if the allegations are proven true.
But the list of Republicans calling for Moore to end his campaign grew quickly Monday after Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for him to step aside.
New allegations also surfaced Monday as another woman accused Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was 16.
On Tuesday morning, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan called on Moore to leave the race, and so did Vukmir.
“Roy Moore’s conduct as described is very disturbing and should disqualify anyone from serving in public office,” Vukmir said in a statement. “The allegations are credible and serious and should be treated as such.”
Nicholson’s campaign issued an updated statement Tuesday afternoon.
“There is absolutely no place in our society for this type of alleged behavior,” Nicholson said. “I don’t have a vote in Alabama, but if I did and with the information I know today, I would want Roy Moore to move out of the race so that Alabamans could elect a conservative candidate who can ably go to the Senate and help advance and enact the president’s agenda.”
Nicholson recently won an endorsement from a Political Action Committee with ties to Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former White House Chief Strategist, partly because of his willingness to not support McConnell as majority leader.
Both Nicholson and Vukmir are hoping to defeat Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin in the 2018 general election.
Baldwin issued her own statement condemning Moore’s actions.
“I believe the women who bravely spoke out and it’s clear that Roy Moore is unfit to serve,” Baldwin said.