MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Stand Up Republic, a 501(c)4 group co-founded by former independent anti-Trump presidential candidate Evan McMullin, is spending $500,000 on digital and TV ads that ask Alabama conservatives to reject Republican nominee Roy Moore’s Senate bid.
In two 30-second spots, the group presents Moore as an unacceptable choice for conservatives — but does not suggest a particular alternative. In one ad, a Republican voter named Robert du Buys works in his yard, recounts his lifetime of party-line voting, and says Moore “makes Republicans and us Christians look bad.”
In another, which resembles ads that a short-lived anti-Trump group ran during the 2016 primary, a succession of young women flash across the screen as a narrator describes allegations, first reported in The Washington Post, that Roy Moore, then in his early 30s, made unwanted sexual advances on teenage girls.
“What if she was your little girl?” asks the narrator. “Your daughter? Your sister? What if she was 16 years old, or 15, or 14?”
McMullin, who approved the ad alongside 2016 running mate and Stand Up Republic co-founder Mindy Finn, said the buy began at the start of this week, to start a rush of ads before the Dec. 12 election.
“Stand Up Republic believes that the character of our elected leaders has great influence over the character of our nation,” said McMullin. “We must oppose candidates that fail even the most basic ethical standards and reject the idea that temporary political advantage justifies abandoning our values. Roy Moore is unworthy of a seat in the U.S. Senate. The credible allegations against him, his history as a judge, and his many discriminatory statements demonstrate that he does not respect the dignity and safety of young girls, has no commitment to the rule of law, and no respect for religious liberty.”
The Stand Up Republic buy may end up being one of the largest third-party interventions in the state. Highway 31, a Democratic super PAC created to help Democratic nominee Doug Jones, has spent at least $2.9 million; America First PAC, a pro-Trump group, announced $1.1 million in spending after the president broke with his party’s congressional leaders to endorse Moore.
The spots differ from the rest, however, in making a negative argument without pitching another candidate. Anti-Moore conservatives, in Alabama and nationally, have divided among themselves between supporting Jones, backing a write-in candidate, or suggesting that voters just sit out the election.