Candidates react to Merrill dropping out of 2020 Senate race
In suspending his 2020 GOP campaign for the U.S. Senate on Sunday effective immediately, Secretary of State John Merrill made it clear what his main goal is: to see a Republican defeat Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) in November 2020.
In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Merrill outlined, “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.”
“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,” he added.
With Merrill out, Alabama’s GOP Senate field now consists of former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01), former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) and evangelist Stanley Adair.
Merrill’s former opponents on the Republican side widely applauded his selfless decision to step aside for the advancement of his stated goal of defeating Jones.
Byrne was the first to react to Merrill exiting the race, doing so in a tweet.
I’m confident @JohnHMerrill will continue to be a strong leader and voice for Alabama. Rebecca and I wish him and Cindy the best of luck and look forward to working with him to make Alabama a better place to live, work, and raise a family.
— Bradley Byrne (@BradleyByrne) December 2, 2019
In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Mooney said, “[Merrill] is a man who cares deeply about Alabama and serving our state, and I appreciate his contribution. I continue to look forward to a great exchange of ideas in the primary to determine who is the best conservative to beat Jones.”
Tuberville stated to Yellowhammer News, “John’s a worker. He’s the only other candidate I saw driving across the state as much as me. Alabama will continue to benefit from his work ethic as Secretary of State.”
In a statement, Sessions commented, “I want to congratulate Secretary of State John Merrill for running a strong race, and for his tireless dedication to the people of Alabama. No one has worked harder than John as he has covered every corner of our great state. John has been successful in bringing common-sense reforms and has been recognized nationally for his work to fight against voter fraud.”
“Our campaign is picking up steam very fast; the outpouring of support has been overwhelming and humbling. We are adding thousands of new supporters each week, and we will be honored to welcome all of John’s supporters as well,” he added.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn