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Mitt Romney emerged Friday as one of the few Republicans calling unconditionally for Roy Moore to quit the U.S. Senate race in Alabama following allegations that Moore molested a 14-year-old girl when he was 32.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich also broke with Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and many other fellow Republicans who have urged Moore to drop out of the campaign only if the alleged 1979 incident turns out to be true.
Sen. John McCain of Arizona was the first major Republican to call on Moore to step aside Thursday following the explosive allegation by Leigh Corfman, the woman who told the Washington Post about the alleged sexual encounter when she was a teen.
In a Twitter post, Romney said Corfman's account was "too serious to ignore."
"Moore is unfit for office and should step aside," Romney wrote.
The Post also reported that Moore, a former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, pursued three other girls from 16 to 18 years old when he was a prosecutor in his 30s.
Moore has denied all the allegations and vowed to stay in the race.
But the Post report has left Republicans fearing that a safely Republican Senate seat might now be vulnerable in the Dec. 12 special election, which pits Moore against Democrat Doug Jones.
Republicans are defending a narrow 52-seat majority in the Senate.