With Plans To Vote For Roy Moore, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey Retreats From Spotlight

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

To Alabama - we're in the midst of the scandal surrounding Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore. Alabama's Republican governor, Kay Ivey, has largely ducked out of public view. Kyle Gassiott of Troy Public Radio went looking for her.

KYLE GASSIOTT, BYLINE: The last time Kay Ivey said anything about Alabama's special Senate election was two weeks ago. After pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey, Ivey told reporters she still believed Moore's accusers, but...

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KAY IVEY: At the same time, the United States Senate needs to have, in my opinion, a majority of Republican votes to carry the day and when they have to consider other major decisions.

GASSIOTT: Ever since then, Ivey's been avoiding awkward questions.

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UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Now will the attendees for National Hospice Month please come forward?

GASSIOTT: Earlier this week, she signed official state proclamations and posed for pictures with the public. Breaking with her normal practice, she didn't make public remarks or speak with the press. And her office has canceled all media events for the week saying she's too busy.

That same day, outside the state capitol in Montgomery, organizers of a rally against Roy Moore put out an empty chair with a sign that read, reserved for Kay Ivey.

AMBROSIA STARLING: Governor, your seat's waiting for you.

GASSIOTT: Drag queen Ambrosia Starling is one of Moore's most vocal critics in Alabama.

STARLING: We waiting for you to change your mind. We waiting for you to stand up and be a decent woman like you claim to be. We may be waiting for a while.

GASSIOTT: Ivey's retreat from the spotlight doesn't surprise Meredith Cummings. She's a columnist with al.com.

MEREDITH CUMMINGS: Well, I think if I were Governor Ivey, I would probably lie low, too.

GASSIOTT: Cummings says it's probably a politically wise decision to avoid getting further sucked into the race, but she also thinks it's problematic.

CUMMINGS: How am I going to explain this to my daughter that you don't value women because that is what - the message she's sending when she says she believes the women that have come forward, but she's going to vote for a man who has accused them anyway.

GASSIOTT: Cummings says she was happy when Ivey became Alabama's second female governor earlier this year. That happened after the previous governor resigned due to a sex scandal. But now Cummings says she won't be voting for Ivey when she runs for a full term in 2018. For NPR News, I'm Kyle Gassiott in Montgomery, Ala. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.