Alabama secretary of state announces Senate bid

Alabama secretary of state announces Senate bid
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Alamaba Secretary of State John Merrill will challenge Sen. Doug Jones (D) in 2020, joining Jones’ 2017 opponent Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreMontgomery, Ala., elects first African American mayor GOP Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville says Trump has 'put a noose' around farmers' necks with trade war Sen. Doug Jones launches reelection bid in Alabama MORE and several other Republicans in the Republican field, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

“All too often in the past, we have continued to nominate Republicans who are not proven conservatives, who are put in positions where they’re not willing to stand up and not do what’s necessary to take a stand and hold their ground and with that foundational assignment, lead us forward to do what we need to do,” Merrill said in his announcement speech Tuesday.

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Along with Moore, the Republican field includes Rep. Bradley ByrneBradley Roberts ByrneGOP seeks to gain more control of impeachment narrative GOP Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville says Trump has 'put a noose' around farmers' necks with trade war Here are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 MORE, state Rep. Arnold Mooney and former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville.

Merrill said that he will continue to serve as secretary of state while seeking the nomination, according to the Advertiser.

Merrill denied any impropriety in continuing to oversee elections while seeking office, saying “If it were not for free and fair elections in the state of Alabama, Doug Jones would not have been in the United States Senate.”

Merrill has served as secretary of state since 2014 and was re-elected in November, according to the Advertiser. He and Moore, who previously served as chief justice of the state supreme court, are the only Republican candidates who have won statewide races.

In his announcement speech, Merrill pledged to look to senior Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbySenators have chance to double funding for women entrepreneurs—they should take it On The Money: Trump dismisses 'phony Emoluments Clause' after Doral criticism | Senate Dems signal support for domestic spending package | House panel to consider vaping tax Senate Dems signal they'll support domestic spending package MORE (R) for guidance and “put Alabama first.”

“We want to make sure we are holding harmless the business and people of Alabama when we have the opportunity to make sure we are doing everything we can in support of the president,” he said.

Merrill’s announcement follows that of Moore, who was narrowly defeated in 2017 amid allegations of sexual misconduct from several women, some of whom were underage at the time of the alleged incidents. Moore has denied all the allegations.

Numerous Republican figures, including President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry Support for impeachment inches up in poll Fox News's Bret Baier calls Trump's attacks on media 'a problem' MORE and his eldest son Don Jr., have blasted his decision to run again, claiming it could hand a re-election victory to Jones, considered one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats in the 2020 cycle.