Miss America 1995 Heather Whitestone McCallum will not be a candidate in Alabama’s 2020 U.S. Senate race.
She told Yellowhammer News on Wednesday evening that she has finalized her decision and will not run, saying the timing was not right for her.
“Alabama has given so much to me. It would definitely be an honor to give back to the people of my state,” Whitestone said in a statement to Yellowhammer News earlier this year. “That being said, it is something my husband John and I are praying about.”
Whitestone, a Dothan native, is also a former Miss Alabama. She made history as the first deaf Miss America, having fully lost her hearing when she was 18-months old. Whitestone underwent a cochlear implant surgery to partially restore her hearing in 2002.
She has authored multiple faith-centric books, including “Listening With My Heart,” “Believing The Promise,” “Let God Surprise You” and “Heavenly Crowns.” She is a graduate of Berry High School (now Hoover High School) and Jacksonville State University.
Whitestone, 46, has lived in Georgia for over two decades, having moved there after marrying her husband, John McCallum. She and John met when they were both serving as aides to then-U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA). John ran unsuccessfully for Congress himself in 2014. She and her husband have three children.
Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01), former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville and State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) are the credible candidates who have formally announced Republican candidacies to unseat Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) thus far.
Unsuccessful 2017 Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore will announce Thursday at 2:00 p.m. in Montgomery whether he will join that field.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill is expected to make an announcement on his potential Senate bid next week after filing his paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn