Can Alabama's evangelicals carry Roy Moore to victory?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- One woman after another trooped to the microphone on Friday to sing the praises of Roy Moore, including his wife Kayla.

"He will not step down," Kayla Moore said. 

Moore's campaign this week has been a bullhorn tribute to his character.

"To the people of Alabama, thank you for being smarter than they think you are," Kayla Moore said. 

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Kayla Moore rallied support for her husband, Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. 

CBS News

"They" are Moore's critics who accept the allegations by several women that his behavior toward them ranged from unwanted advances to assault, and that he is unfit for office as a result.

Moore has threatened to sue his accusers for defamation, but a federal prosecutor in Alabama says pursuing the women in court is "patently absurd."

Polls say Moore's support is slipping. But his Bible-reading base is fired up -- an important factor in a special election on a Tuesday in December.

"I would contend that his followers are more religious than they are Christian," said Steve Flowers, an Alabama political columnist. "Moore's people will not stay home. That 75- to 80-year-old guy who lives in the evangelical church, he's got Dec. 12 circled on his calendar, and Dean, that's not an opportune date for an election for a soccer mom."

But Alabama's evangelicals may not be in step with their brethren in the rest of the country. 

"The credibility of evangelicals is being harmed by the perception that evangelicals don't care about victims but instead just care about political power," said Ed Stetzer, who chairs the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. "I care about the victims. I think Jesus does too."

And speaking of political power, Alabama's Republican Gov. Kay Ivey reiterated today that she intends to set aside her misgivings and vote for  Moore in next month's election to help maintain Republican control of the Senate in Washington. 

  • Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.