Alabama Secretary of State rules out 2022 Senate bid after admitting to extramarital relationship

Alabama Secretary of State rules out 2022 Senate bid after admitting to extramarital relationship
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Alabama Secretary State John Merrill (R) ruled out a 2022 Senate bid on Wednesday after admitting to having an “inappropriate relationship” with a woman who was not his wife.

Merrill said in a statement on Wednesday that he will “not be a candidate for any office in 2022.”

Merrill was largely thought to join the field of candidates looking to replace Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyNational Guard cancels trainings after Congress fails to reimburse for Capitol riot deployment This week: Senate faces infrastructure squeeze GOP seeks to make Biden synonymous with inflation MORE (R-Ala.), who is retiring at the end of his term. His campaign website already indicated that he was running for the open seat.

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Also running is Lynda Blanchard, who was former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump hails Arizona Senate for audit at Phoenix rally, slams governor Arkansas governor says it's 'disappointing' vaccinations have become 'political' Watch live: Trump attends rally in Phoenix MORE’s ambassador to Slovenia, and Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksEx-Sen. Jones rips Mo Brooks over 'irony' remark on Texas Democrats getting COVID-19 Justice in legal knot in Mo Brooks, Trump case Schumer, Tim Scott lead as Senate fundraising pace heats up MORE (R-Ala.). Trump endorsed Brooks on Wednesday.

“With the end of my term coming up in January of 2023, I have been presented with a variety of options for where my path in public service could lead. After much prayer, reflection, and conversations with my wife, Cindy, I have decided that I will not be a candidate for any office in 2022,” he said.

Merrill said that he intends to finish his term as Secretary of State, which ends in January 2023, and said he is “incredibly humbled” by the support he has received from the state and is proud of what he has accomplished over the past six years.

Merrill admitted to having the relationship with Cesaire McPherson, a former legal analyst, in an interview with Al.com on Wednesday.

This comes a day after right-wing news site the National File published McPherson's allegations. She alleged the relationship went on from July 2019 to November 2020.

Merrill initially denied the allegations, according to the Alabama Political Reporter. He instead claimed that he began communicating with her, but cut off communication after her intentions were “bordering on obsession.” 

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He then alleged that McPherson threatened to tell lies “about my marital life if I did not keep talking to her,” according to the news outlet

Merrill made the reversal on Wednesday after Al.com played him a portion of a phone call that McPherson provided detailing past sexual encounters.

“It’s clear that I had an inappropriate relationship with her, and it is not something that I am proud of or something that is something that — I’m very disappointed in myself. I’m also disappointed that I allowed my family to be embarrassed by this action,” he told Al.com.