Roy Moore 2011 Photo by BibleWizard via Creative Commons
Roy Moore 2011 Photo by BibleWizard via Creative Commons

Washington – Sen. Chris Murphy is in a fundraising race with Roy Moore, and by the senator’s accounting, he’s out in front.

Murphy began to try to raise money for Moore’s Democratic opponent for a U.S. Senate seat after Moore boasted last week that he had a fundraising windfall from the Washington Post story that said the former judge – as a young man in his 30s – pursued improper relationships with teenagers, including sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl.

Moore said he raised $100,000 from a fundraising appeal that called the story “lies” and a “filthy and sleazy” attack. He warned his backers “the forces of evil are on the march in our country.”

So Murphy sent his supporters a rival appeal to raise money for Doug Jones, Moore’s Democratic opponent in a special election for an Alabama seat in the U.S. Senate on Dec. 12.

“Doug Jones took on the KKK and won, prosecuting four Klansmen for a 1963 Birmingham church bombing. We can be proud of him as our nominee,” Murphy’s fundraising letter said. “I believe all of us have an obligation to chip in and do our part to ensure the Republican nominee, Roy Moore, never serves a day in the United States Senate.”

On Sunday, Murphy tweeted that his effort to raise money for Jones through Act Blue, an aggregator of Democratic donations, had borne fruit.

“So this is unreal. Roy Moore said he raised $100,000 after the Post story ran. In response to 1 e-mail and 2 tweets from me, you’ve donated $92,000 to Doug Jones. We can match Moore – $100,000 – by the end of the day. Let’s go,” Murphy tweeted.

On Monday Murphy tweeted that his efforts on behalf of Jones had raised $125,000 and asked for new donations.

“We are at $125,000!! AMAZING. Can we get to $150,000 for Doug Jones by the end of today? I think we can,” Murphy tweeted.

A new accusation against Moore came on Monday from a woman who said he groped her when she was 15 and 16.

The woman, Beverly Young Nelson, said at a press conference that Moore told her after one incident: “You are a child. I am the District Attorney of Etowah County. If you tell anyone about this, no one will believe you.”

Still, Jones has an uphill climb in Alabama, one of the nation’s reddest states and one that has not elected a Democrat to statewide office since 2008.

Moore, meanwhile,  has a lot of grassroots support and is backed by most state GOP officials. But in Washington, D.C., an increasing number of Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are demanding Moore quit the race to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ former Senate seat.

“I think he should step aside,” McConnell said.

Asked by a reporter whether he believed the allegations, McConnell responded: “I believe the women, yes.”

Moore responded to the loss of support from a powerful party leader with another fundraising letter.

“Apparently Mitch McConnell and the establishment GOP would rather elect a radical pro-abortion Democrat than a conservative Christian as the next U.S. Senator from Alabama,” the letter said. “I’ve been abandoned by Washington’s establishment Republicans with just four weeks left before Election Day.”

Republican Luther Strange was named to fill Sessions’ seat last year until a special election could be held. Strange lost a Republican primary to Moore and is being lobbied to consider a write-in campaign.

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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