After enduring weeks of speculation on what would happen if controversial Republican Roy Moore wins a seat in the U.S. Senate, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are waiting like everyone else to see the next act in this political play, as Senate GOP leaders have made clear they won’t give Moore a hero’s welcome if he does emerge victorious on Tuesday night in Alabama.
As Senators arrived for their first vote of the week on Monday evening, Republicans ran a gauntlet of reporters asking a simple question – will Roy Moore soon be in the U.S. Senate?
“I don’t know,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), the senior Senator from the Yellowhammer State, who has made clear that he did not vote for Moore, but instead wrote in another Republican in the Alabama Senate race.
Pressed again to say if Moore would win, Shelby re-emphasized his vote.
“Not with my help,” he said.
The polls in Alabama have been back and forth in recent weeks. The latest on Monday from Fox News, showed a 10 point lead for Moore’s Democratic opponent, Doug Jones.
“We’ll see,” said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who denounced Moore, and gave $100 to the Jones campaign.
“At this point it’s what I call a turnout race,” said Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), when asked who would win. “It depends who gets their vote out.”
While Byrne believes the edge is with the GOP, political pollsters say his turnout argument is on point.
“Tomorrow’s Alabama Senate special election will depend on which candidate has more people turn out to vote for him,” pollster Frank Luntz wrote Monday on Twitter.
Outside the Senate chamber, many Republicans wanted to wait and see the vote totals before worrying about their next move.
“Let’s see what happens,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), as he was pursued by a group of reporters.
“That’s a decision that I leave to the Leader,” Johnson said when asked how Moore should be dealt with by his fellow Republicans – if he wins.
“I’m not going to make a call on his qualifications,” said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) of Moore. “That will be a decision that will be made after the outcome of the election.”
Others were quiet on the subject of Roy Moore for an obvious reason.
“The answer to your question is, I’m doing good,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), before I had even asked the Senator a question.
“I can’t talk to you about anything because I’m the Ethics Chairman,” Isakson added, as the Georgia Republican would be in charge of any ethics review of Moore, which the Senate Majority Leader has made clear he would ask for that if Moore is elected.
Isakson – and his GOP colleagues – will find out Tuesday night what’s next for them, and what’s next for Roy Moore.