Alabama Republican Senator Richard Shelby announced that he will not seek a seventh term in the U.S. Senate when his current term expires. This immediately led to speculation about who will run for Shelby’s seat. Republican Congressman Robert Aderholt said in a statement that he has no current plans to run for the Senate.
Aderholt released a statement after The Hill asked him if he would run for the open seat.
“I take being dean of the Alabama House delegation seriously, and I am honored to serve in that role,” Aderholt wrote. “I have been on the House Appropriations Committee since I first came to Congress and have worked side by side with Senator Shelby on the appropriations process to help the 4th Congressional District, as well as the whole state of Alabama.”
“To the question of running for the open Senate seat, I have learned never to say never, but at this time, my holding a senior role on the House Appropriations committee serves Alabama well,” Aderholt said. “I am perfectly content serving Alabama through my current work in the House, and I don’t have any current plans to run for an open Senate seat.”
Aderholt has represented Alabama’s 4th Congressional District since 1997.
The Hill listed Congressmen Mo Brooks and Gary Palmer, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill and Shelby’s former chief of staff Katie Boyd Britt as possible candidates for Shelby’s seat, as well as former Alabama congressional candidate Jessica Taylor and former ambassador to Slovenia, Lynda Blanchard.
Brooks has benefited from all of the attacks that he has received in the aftermath of the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol by an angry mob and likely would be the frontrunner in a contested Republican primary if he runs for Senate. Brooks confirmed to the press that he will be running in the 2022 election: either for Senate or for re-election to his congressional seat.
Brooks ran previously for Senate in the 2017 special election, but finished third in the GOP primary behind former Chief Justice Roy Moore and appointed Sen. Luther Strange.
It is unlikely that Democrats will be able to field a credible candidate in very red Alabama, though former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones did defeat Judge Moore in the 2017 special election. That was the only time a Democratic candidate has defeated a Republican in any statewide race in the state of Alabama since former Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley narrowly defeated Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh for Public Service Commission president in the 2008 general election.
Merrill ran for Senate in 2020, but dropped out of the race when his longtime friend, former Attorney General and Sen. Jeff Sessions entered the race. Former Auburn University college football coach Tommy Tuberville defeated Sessions and then-Congressman Bradley Byrne in the 2020 Republican primary before going on to unseat Jones in the 2020 general election.
A number of potential candidates will likely announce their intentions to run or not run for Senate in the coming weeks.