John Merrill flirts with U.S. Senate run

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby has announced he will retire in late 2022.
Published: Feb. 17, 2021 at 9:08 PM CST
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Montgomery, Ala. (WTVY) -Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill promises he will decide soon whether to run for the U.S. Senate.

“What we have done is set a timetable for the first-- no later than the second-- week of April to make a public announcement,” Merrill told WTVY this week.

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, among Capitol Hill’s most influential lawmakers, announced on February 8 he will retire in late 2022, after six terms.

Merrill’s second term ends about the same time and, unable to seek re-election, he is weighing options.

If his travel schedule is a reliable indicator, he is serious about a senate campaign.

In the first six months of this year, he has visited 22 counties touting record voter registration and turnout during his six years as Alabama secretary of state. He is also using those visits to gauge support for a possible senate campaign.

In 2019, Merrill dropped out of the race for Alabama’s other senate seat. An already crowded field became congested when Jeff Sessions jumped in hours before the qualifying deadline.

“He had indicated to me on two different occasions that he did not intend to seek the nomination,” Merrill said.

Sessions held the seat for years before becoming U.S. Attorney General. His popularity and eventual winner Tommy Tuberville’s deep pockets convinced Merrill to exit the race.

Others mentioned as possible Republican candidates for Shelby’s seat include Business Council of Alabama president and chief executive officer Katie Boyd Britt and Congressman Mo Brooks.

The nominee would be a huge favorite against any Democratic rival.

Copyright 2021 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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