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Nov 16, 4:16 PM EST

The Latest: Alabama Republican Party says it stands by Moore

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- The Latest on Republican Roy Moore and the special U.S. Senate election in Alabama (all times local):

3:10 p.m.

The Alabama Republican Party says it stands with GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, breaking ranks with national Republicans who have called for him to step out of the race amid sexual misconduct allegations.

Republican Party Chairwoman Terry Lathan said Thursday that the party's 21-member steering committee "supports Judge Roy Moore as our nominee."

Lathan says that the 70-year-old Moore has denied the allegations and that "Alabamians will be the ultimate jury in this election."

Two women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct when they were ages 14 and 16 and he was in his 30s. Others said Moore attempted to date them as teens.

The White House also said Thursday that President Donald Trump believes the voters of Alabama should decide Moore's fate.

The special election is Dec. 12. Moore's Democratic opponent is Doug Jones.

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3:05 p.m.

Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore is calling accusations of sexual misconduct against him "scurrilous and false," but he declined to take questions from reporters about them.

Moore says the accusations are "not only untrue but they have no evidence." He says he will be staying in the race despite calls from fellow Republicans to step down.

Religious and conservative allies of Moore held a Thursday news conference to show support for the candidate.

Two women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct when they were 14 and 16 and he was in his 30s. Others say Moore attempted to start romantic relationships with them when he was in his 30s and they were teens.

Conservative commentator Alan Keyes, abortion-rights opponents and others spoke in support of Moore.

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2:50 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump believes the voters of Alabama should decide Roy Moore's fate and finds the allegations against the Republican Senate candidate "very troubling."

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday that Trump isn't calling on Moore to exit the race amid allegations of sexual misconduct decades ago with teenage girls when he was an assistant district attorney in his 30s. Moore denies the allegations.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have called on Moore to step aside.

Sanders says Trump "thinks that the people of Alabama should make the decision on who their next senator should be." She declined to say whether Trump continues to back Moore.

Sanders says Trump supported the Republican National Committee's decision to withdraw its resources from the race.

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2:40 p.m.

Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying "to steal this election" by calling for him to step down amid allegations of sexual misconduct decades ago.

A defiant Moore appeared at a news conference on Thursday to reiterate that he would be staying in the Alabama race.

It comes as the Republican National Committee, the Senate GOP campaign committee and the party's leading voices in Congress have called on the 70-year-old former judge to quit the race.

At least three new allegations of misconduct were reported on Wednesday, including one by Tina Johnson, who told AL.com that Moore groped her during a 1991 meeting in his law office.

The special election is scheduled for Dec. 12. Moore is facing off against Democrat Doug Jones.

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2:10 a.m.

With President Donald Trump standing on the sidelines, Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore and his allies in Alabama are bracing for an extended conflict - not with Democrats, but with their own party in Washington.

The divide between the state and national GOP reached new depths Wednesday as more allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against Moore, an outspoken Christian conservative. Already, the Republican National Committee, the Senate GOP campaign committee and the party's leading voices in Congress have called on the 70-year-old former judge to quit the race.

Moore offered fighting words in a tweet addressed to top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell. At least three new allegations of misconduct were reported Wednesday, including one by Tina Johnson, who said Moore groped her during a 1991 meeting in his law office.

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