John Merrill suspends campaign for U.S. Senate

Secretary of State John Merrill (Source: WSFA)
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Montgomery (WTVY) John Merrill, Alabama's Secretary of State, has suspended his campaign for the U.S. Senate, claiming doing so is in the best interest of the Republican Party.

“After thoughtful consideration, much prayer, some honest discussions with my family and campaign team, I have decided to suspend my campaign for the United State Senate, effective immediately,” Merrill said in a statement Sunday night.

The dynamics of the race changed greatly last month when former U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions announced he would seek to regain his old job.

“With Senator Sessions’ late entry into this race, we have come to realize that a crowded Republican primary only benefits Doug Jones and the out of touch liberal Democrats,” Merrill said. Jones is the incumbent.

With Merrill out, seven Republicans remain in the race. They include Congressman Bradley Byrne, State Representative Arnold Mooney, former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville, and Sessions. Also on the primary ballot are lesser known candidates Stanley Adair and Ruth Paige Nelson.

Merrill still has over three years remaining on his term as secretary of state. Many believe he will seek another statewide office in 2022.

Here is Merrill's full statement:

“For the past seven years I have visited every county in Alabama meeting with business and church groups, educators and farmers, as well as county and municipal leaders. I have worked hard to get to know our communities, their leaders and their needs.
 
For the past five months I have made many of these visits as a candidate for the United State Senate.
 
I have spoken to tens of thousands of Alabamians about the future of our nation and our need to replace Doug Jones with a conservative Republican Senator who represents Alabama thinking and Alabama values.
 
Throughout this journey, Cindy and I have been thankful for the outpouring of support we have received. We are grateful for the old friends we reconnected with and for the new friends we have made along the way.
 
With the announcement by Senator Jeff Sessions on November 7th, the dynamics of this election have changed dramatically. 
 
When I entered the race on June 25th, I, along with my family and closest supporters, saw a path to victory. We met our initial goals and had six months of successful fundraising. We actually led the third-quarter in fundraising for all Republican candidates.
 
With Senator Sessions’ late entry into this race, we have come to realize that a crowded Republican primary only benefits Doug Jones and the out of touch liberal Democrats.
 
Therefore, after thoughtful consideration, much prayer, some honest discussions with my family and campaign team, I have decided to suspend my campaign for the United State Senate, effective immediately.
 
I am honored by the support and encouragement we have received, and I look forward to my continued service to the people in our state as Alabama’s Secretary of State.”