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Republican senators torn over whether Roy Moore, if elected, would be invited to caucus

Republican senators appeared torn over whether Alabama’s Roy Moore would be invited to join the GOP caucus in the Senate if he is elected in Tuesday’s special election.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declined to say whether Moore, who has the support of President Trump but whose candidacy has divided Republicans, would be invited for the almost daily lunches and strategy sessions.

“All of those are good questions for tomorrow and we await the outcome,” McConnell told reporters.

GOP leaders appear increasingly resigned that they cannot block Moore from being seated in the Senate if he defeats Democrat Doug Jones in the special election for the open seat. McConnell recently cited a 1969 Supreme Court ruling as leaving no option but to swear in the candidate, though he said the Senate would likely launch an Ethics Committee investigation into allegations against Moore of sexual misconduct. 

“After that, it’s anybody’s guess,” said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the third-ranking Republican.

That doesn’t mean fellow GOP senators, though, would welcome Moore into their conference.

”Let’s see what the outcome is and then deal with the outcome,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), a Moore critic. ”I’ve been pretty outspoken.”

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) downplayed the importance of the conference meetings, saying he rarely joins for lunch. But pressed on whether Moore should be invited, he said, “I’ve indicated my thoughts about Mr. Moore and my desire that he not seek election.”

And Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), who said he understood the anger Moore’s supporters feel at the establishment in Washington, nevertheless indicated he was uncertain whether the Alabamian would join the GOP conference if elected.

“I don’t know how to answer that question,” he said.

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