BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has announced that he will not seek election for any office in 2022.
“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,” Merrill said in a statement released on Wednesday.
Merrill did not give a specific reason as to why he will not be seeking an elected office in the near future, but some media outlets are reporting his admission to an extramarital affair, after previously denying it.
In response to WBRC’s request concerning the allegations, Merrill’s office stated “This is the only statement we will be releasing on the matter.”
The following is the rest of Merrill’s statement in its entirety:
“Life presents us with a series of chapters, some more challenging than others, in our book of life, and when one finishes, another one begins. While I remain fully committed to continuing my service as your Secretary of State through the end of my term, I do not know what the next chapter will present for me and my family.”
“I am incredibly humbled by the outpouring of support of many Alabamians throughout our great state. I am surrounded by a great team and we look forward to finishing the goals we set out to achieve before our term ends in January of 2023. I will follow the path the Lord puts in front of me to see what happens next. Regardless, I am extraordinarily proud of all that we have been able to accomplish in the last six years, two months, and 19 days that I have had the esteemed privilege of serving as your 53rd Secretary of State.”
The Alabama Democratic Party issued this statement: “With the exception of the use of state resources to facilitate his affair, Merrill’s personal life and conduct are just that - personal. The Democratic Party is much more concerned about the allegation that he regularly referred to African American judges and citizens in Alabama as ‘The Coloreds’. If true, he must apologize AND resign immediately.”
Merrill responded to WBRC FOX6 News reporter Lydia Nusbaum Thursday: “The allegation is entirely false. I, along with my office, have worked in a bipartisan way with all groups – regardless of political affiliation, race, gender, socioeconomic status, or background. I have done this for the last thirty years that I have had the privilege of working with and serving the public. This has been apparent through my work with members of the Legislature, the Tuscaloosa County School System, local election officials, and many, many other groups. These charges are baseless and politically motivated. They have no validity. There has never been a time in my service where any hint of this type of behavior or language has been introduced, and there is still no evidence of this today. It is a false accusation and I condemn any and all acts of hatred or racism. I stand firm in my belief that racism has no place in our society.”
Governor Kay Ivey issued a statement: “It is always unfortunate when someone in public life, especially an elected official, betrays the trust of his family, his constituents and those who have supported him. My thoughts and prayers are with all who have been negatively impacted by these poor decisions and bad choices.”