Secretary of State Merrill files papers for run for Senate

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill speaks to reporters in Dothan. Photo from January 24, 2017.
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) -- The field of Republican candidates set to challenge Democrat Sen. Doug Jones in Alabama’s upcoming 2020 Senate elections could soon get bigger. Tuesday, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill took a step toward getting into the race.

Merrill, during a segment with Huntsville radio talk show host Dale Jackson, said he’s filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission. He said it was “due to the excitement, support, & unsolicited financial contributions related to a possible run for the US Senate.”

It’s not a done deal, yet, however. Merrill, in a tweet, said he made the filing step “to comply w/election laws, & if I run, I’ll be making a formal announcement next week."

Merrill was elected Alabama’s chief elections officer in 2014 and won re-election in 2018.

Jones narrowly defeated Republican and twice-removed former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore to win the seat in a 2017 special election after Moore became embattled in controversy.

Jones is the first Democrat to hold the seat in decades but is considered by some to be one of the most-endangered senators in the 100-seat body due to Alabama’s large conservative voter base.

In addition to possible runs by Merrill, the GOP field could also soon include Moore for a second round. He’s set to announce his intentions on Thursday.

Others, including former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville and U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, have already announced plans to run.

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