ALABASTER, Ala. — It’s no secret that if Roy Moore is going to lose his race for U.S. Senate, it’s going to happen in Alabama’s suburbs. And on Friday, a day after allegations emerged that the outspoken Christian conservative had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl decades ago, at least a few Republicans in one Birmingham suburb were having second thoughts about their party’s nominee.

“Really and truly, I cannot tell you what I’m going to do right now,” said Carolyn Griffin of Calera, as she watched her dog Loxy exercise at Alabaster’s Veterans Park.

Griffin is the kind of voter who might be moved by the allegations, and suburban Shelby County is where other likeminded voters are located. While Alabama might be called the Heart of Dixie, much of Shelby County is Anysuburb USA, with subdivisions and strip malls sprawling ever farther south along traffic-choked highways leading out of Birmingham.

The accusations against Moore come as Democrats are feeling increasingly optimistic about their strength in the suburbs after Tuesday’s elections in Virginia, New Jersey and other races. Still, it’s a steep, steep climb in Alabama. No Democrat has held a U.S. Senate seat there since 1997, when Howell Heflin retired.

Moore has been considered the strong favorite as a Republican running in a deeply red state, and polls taken before the Washington Post story showed him with a lead over Democratic challenger Doug Jones in the Dec. 12 race.

But Moore, a polarizing figure within his own state, has typically underperformed other Republicans in general-election races, giving rise to Democrats’ hope of a victory against him in the off-year election.

“There was a universe in Alabama that was uncomfortable with him, all while Republicans were gaining in Alabama,” Birmingham-based Democratic pollster John Anzalone said. “These allegations now give these voters a reason to vote against him or stay home.”

The 70-year-old Moore, a former state Supreme Court judge, was twice removed from the Alabama Supreme Court, once for disobeying a federal court order to remove a 5,200-pound granite Ten Commandments monument from the lobby of the state judicial building, and later for urging state probate judges to defy the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage.

He has vehemently denied accusations that he had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl and pursued three other teenagers when he was an assistant district attorney in his early 30s.

He repeated his denial Saturday while speaking to the Mid Alabama Republican Club in Vestavia Hills outside Birmingham.

“There are investigations going on. In the next few days, there will be revelations about the motivations and the content of this article that will be brought to the public,” Moore said without elaborating.

David Mowery, an Alabama-based political campaign consultant who helped run a Democrat’s unsuccessful campaign against Moore in 2012, said the allegations against him are damaging but aren’t necessarily a death blow.

“I think it hurts. It hurts because they are having to divert time and effort and probably money into killing it,” Mowery said.

“Can they turn the page, so to speak, and turn it back to a D versus R thing?”

“There’s an old saying that the only way some candidates could lose is to be caught with a dead girl or a live boy. Alabama is going to test the specs on that like ‘Hold my beer,”‘ Mowery said.