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Rep. Terri Sewell declines to run for Senate in Alabama

Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) will not run to replace retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) next year, saying that “the unfinished business” in her congressional district is “far too important” for her to mount a statewide campaign. 

“After careful consideration and consultation with my family and closest advisors, I have decided that the unfinished business of my home district, Alabama’s 7th Congressional District, is far too important for me to seek higher office at this time,” Sewell said in a statement. 

“I will remain actively engaged in the U.S. Senate race in Alabama and will throw my full weight behind the Democrat candidate who emerges as the strongest advocate for protecting voting rights, expanding economic opportunity, and strengthening access to health care.”

Sewell, the only Democrat in Alabama’s congressional delegation, had previously said that she was considering a bid for Shelby’s seat. The Birmingham representative has been a champion of expanding voting access and cited her focus on the pending John Lewis Voting Rights Act as one of the reasons she is foregoing a Senate bid. 

Sewell’s decision not to run for Senate next year takes one of Alabama’s most prominent Democrats out of contention for Shelby’s seat. No Democrat has entered the race yet. 

Meanwhile, the Republican primary field is quickly taking shape. Lynda Blanchard, the former U.S. ambassador to Slovenia, jumped into the race last month, while Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) announced his Senate bid on Monday

Other potential GOP hopefuls include Shelby’s former chief of staff Katie Boyd Britt and Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill. 

Shelby joined a handful of GOP Senate incumbents in announcing his retirement ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. But there’s little concern among Republicans about Alabama, a deep-red state that is considered a longshot for Democrats. 

Former President Trump carried the state in 2016 and 2020, beating his Democratic opponents there by upwards of 25 points each time. Likewise, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) ousted Democratic incumbent Doug Jones last year by a more than 20-point margin.

The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, currently rates the Alabama Senate contest as “solid” Republican.

Tags 2022 midterms Alabama politics Alabama Senate race Donald Trump doug jones John Lewis Lynda Blanchard Mo Brooks Richard Shelby Terri Sewell

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