The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Rep. Andy Harris of Md. and Corey Stewart of Va. endorsed Roy Moore. Now what?

U.S. Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) endorsed Senate candidate Roy Moore in September. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Update: Late Friday evening, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) and Republican Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William board of supervisors, both of whom endorsed Roy Moore, made their first public comments on the allegations against the Alabama GOP Senate candidate.

Harris said Moore should withdraw from the race if the accusations are true. Stewart, who is seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) next November, defended Moore, saying he didn't believe the accusers. More details here.

Original story below:

Maryland and Virginia Republicans who endorsed Roy Moore’s candidacy for U.S. Senate were silent Friday morning after accusations that Moore initiated sexual contact with minors while he was in his 30s.

The Washington Post reported allegations that Moore initiated contact with a 14-year-old girl when he was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney in Alabama and pursued three other females between the ages of 16 and 18.

Moore denies any wrongdoing.

In September, Rep. Andy Harris, the only Republican representing Maryland in Congress, endorsed Moore in a bitter GOP runoff election in Alabama that gripped national politics.

"Washington needs to be shaken up, and I can't think of a better man to do that than Judge Roy Moore," Harris said in a statement at the time. "He will bring not only principle to the Senate, but also a backbone of steel. I am proud to endorse him."

Harris’s congressional office referred questions to his political staff. His reelection campaign did not return a call or two emails seeking comment Friday.

“Congressman Andy Harris owes it to his constituents and all decent Marylanders to withdraw his endorsement of Roy Moore,” Fabion Seaton, a spokesman for the Maryland Democratic Party, said in a statement.

Moore faces the Democratic nominee, Doug Jones, in a Dec. 12 special election.

President Trump, Vice President Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and others, most of whom opposed Moore in the GOP runoff election, have said he should withdraw from the Senate race if the allegations are true.

Republicans in Alabama, meanwhile, have mostly rallied around him.

Virginians who endorsed Moore include Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey A. Stewart, who is running for the Republican nomination to challenge Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and has declared himself leader of the anti-establishment wing of the state GOP.

In a fundraising email in September, Stewart called Moore "exactly the kind of leader we need in Washington, D.C., to advance President Trump's agenda and reverse the disastrous policies of the Obama-Clinton Democrats." Stewart did not respond to calls seeking comment Friday morning.

Kaine’s campaign spokesman, Ian Sams, said, “any person of conscience should be willing to condemn child sex abuse, and the fact Corey hasn’t speaks volumes about him.”

Former Virginia attorney general and 2013 gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli also endorsed Moore, according to a list of endorsements listed on Moore's website.

Alie Hassan, a spokeswoman for Cuccinelli, said he was unavailable for comment Friday morning. She said the endorsement was from the Senate Conservatives Fund, of which Cuccinelli is president, and not a personal endorsement from Cuccinelli himself.