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Shelby won't run for reelection

Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyFive takeaways from Biden's first budget proposal Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists Biden defense budget criticized by Republicans, progressives alike MORE (R-Ala.) said on Monday that he would not run for reelection in 2022.

“Today I announce that I will not seek a seventh term in the United State Senate in 2022. For everything, there is a season," Shelby said in a statement.

“Although I plan to retire, I am not leaving today. I have two good years remaining to continue my work in Washington. I have the vision and the energy to give it my all," the 86-year-old senator added.

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Shelby's announcement follows months of speculation that he was eyeing retirement, including The Associated Press reporting on Friday that he had indicated that he would not run again. 

Shelby was first elected to the House in 1978 as a Democrat and won election to the Senate for the first time in 1986. Shelby then switched parties to become a Republican in 1994.

Shelby is currently fourth in Senate seniority, underscoring his long tenure. And during his time in the Senate he's helmed a slew of powerful committees, including the Rules and Intelligence panels.

He's currently the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, a post that allows him to direct funding back to his home state. Shelby was the chairman of the committee from April 2018 until last week, when Democrats formally took over the committee gavels after winning the majority last month.

His spot atop the Appropriations Committee put him in the middle of several government funding fights during former President Trump's administration, including having to navigate thorny standoffs over the former president's U.S.-Mexico border wall.

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"I have been fortunate to serve in the U.S. Senate longer than any other Alabamian. ... In these positions of leadership, I have strived to influence legislation that will have a lasting impact  creating the conditions for growth and opportunity," Shelby said in his statement on Monday.

Shelby is the latest GOP senator to announce they will not run for reelection. Republicans will be defending 20 Senate seats in 2022 compared to the Democrats' 14.

Sens. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeySasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote Philly GOP commissioner on censures: 'I would suggest they censure Republican elected officials who are lying' Toomey censured by several Pennsylvania county GOP committees over impeachment vote MORE (R-Pa.) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanTo encourage innovation, Congress should pass two bills protecting important R&D tax provision The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Biden-GOP infrastructure talks off to rocky start MORE (R-Ohio) have previously said they would retire at the end of their current term. Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrNorth Carolina mayor Rett Newton launches Senate bid Democratic hopeful Jeff Jackson raises .3M for North Carolina Senate bid Rick Scott 'very optimistic' Grassley will run for another term MORE (R-N.C.) has previously said he wouldn't run for reelection and Republicans are closely watching to see if other members will decide again running in 2022.

Shelby was a reliable Trump vote in the Senate, but also tried to steer last year's Alabama Senate race. He supported former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Biden administration should resist 'slush-fund' settlements Garland should oppose Biden effort to reinstate controversial 'slush funds' practice MORE's unsuccessful comeback bid, including disclosing to The Hill that he had talked about the former GOP senator with Trump. He also publicly broke with Republican Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Trump faces test of power with early endorsements CPAC, all-in for Trump, is not what it used to be MORE in 2017, leading the failed candidate to blame Shelby for his loss against then-Democratic candidate Doug Jones.

Shelby's decision will open up a power vacuum within Alabama politics, where he's loomed as a political giant for decades. The seat is reliably Republican, but it could set up a crowded fight as the party tries to find its post-Trump footing.

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Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - World mourns the death of Prince Philip The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Trump faces test of power with early endorsements MORE (R-Ala.) is viewed as a potential candidate. But Brooks has drawn backlash over his support for trying to overturn the results of the presidential election and his remarks at a rally on Jan. 6 shortly before rioters breached the U.S. Capitol.

"Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass," he said at the event.

Brooks, in a subsequent statement, condemned the violence at the Capitol.

Other potential contenders include Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R), Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth (R) and GOP Reps. Gary PalmerGary James PalmerMo Brooks launches Senate bid in Alabama Former Trump officials eye bids for political office The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by TikTok - Senate trial will have drama, but no surprise ending MORE and Robert AderholtRobert Brown AderholtMo Brooks expresses interest in running for Shelby's Senate seat Shelby won't run for reelection Will Biden continue NASA's Artemis program to return to the moon? MORE.

Sources told The Hill late last year that Shelby was interested in having Katie Britt, his former chief of staff, succeed him.

Updated at 12:40 p.m.