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Senate Candidate Moore Denies Sexual Misconduct; Dismisses Reports as 'Charade'

VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama Republican Roy Moore sought Saturday to publicly shore up his continuing Senate bid despite a report that he had had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl and romantically pursued three other teenagers decades ago.

Moore, speaking to the Mid-Alabama Republican Club in suburban Birmingham, again denied allegations of sexual misconduct as "completely false and untrue," saying they were an intentional attempt to derail his candidacy.

"In the next few days there will be revelations about the motivations and the content of this article that will be brought to the public," he said. "We fully expect the people of Alabama to see through this charade."

A spokesman for Moore declined to provide further information about what information those revelations might contain.

In the hours following the Post report Thursday, some Republicans speculated that Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey would delay the Dec. 12 special election. Moore is running against Democrat Doug Jones to fill the U.S. Senate seat previously held by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. However, Ivey spokesman Josh Pendergrass said Saturday that Ivey "is not considering and has no plans to move the special election for U.S. Senate."

Since the Washington Post report appeared Thursday, a wave of national Republican leaders called for Moore to drop out of the race if the allegations are true. They included the White House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who has made national headlines with his recent criticisms of President Donald Trump, tweeted Saturday that Moore's nomination was "a bridge too far" even before the reports surfaced.

That did not sit well with some Moore supporters.

"I'm really upset at my own party for condemning him so quickly," said Tom Byars, who came to hear Moore speak Saturday.

Moore's speech in Vestavia Hills on Saturday was his first public appearance since the report, although he had also denied the story Friday to conservative radio host Sean Hannity. Moore used the occasion to accuse The Washington Post of engaging in a "desperate attempt to stop my political campaign for United States Senate."

Moore denied claims in the story that he had provided beer and wine to women too young to buy it themselves, or that he'd had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl.

"I have not provided alcoholic beverages, beer or anything else, to a minor," Moore said. "I have not been guilty of sexual misconduct with anyone."

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

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