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John Merrill has ended his campaign for the U.S. Senate, according to a statement released around 8 p.m. on Sunday.

(Photo: Secretary of State website)

“For the past seven years I have visited every county in Alabama meeting with business and church groups, educators and farmers, as well as county and municipal leaders. I have worked hard to get to know our communities, their leaders and their needs.

For the past five months I have made many of these visits as a candidate for the United State Senate.

I have spoken to tens of thousands of Alabamians about the future of our nation and our need to replace Doug Jones with a conservative Republican Senator who represents Alabama thinking and Alabama values.

Throughout this journey, Cindy and I have been thankful for the outpouring of support we have received. We are grateful for the old friends we reconnected with and for the new friends we have made along the way.

With the announcement by Senator Jeff Sessions on November 7th, the dynamics of this election have changed dramatically.

When I entered the race on June 25th, I, along with my family and closest supporters, saw a path to victory. We met our initial goals and had six months of successful fundraising. We actually led the third-quarter in fundraising for all Republican candidates.

With Senator Sessions’ late entry into this race, we have come to realize that a crowded Republican primary only benefits Doug Jones and the out of touch liberal Democrats.

Therefore, after thoughtful consideration, much prayer, some honest discussions with my family and campaign team, I have decided to suspend my campaign for the United State Senate, effective immediately.

I am honored by the support and encouragement we have received, and I look forward to my continued service to the people in our state as Alabama’s Secretary of State.”

John Merrill currently serves as Alabama’s Secretary of State. He served in the Alabama House of Representatives from 2010 through 2014.

Former U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions released the following statement Sunday night after Merill announced his removal from the Senate race.

“I want to congratulate Secretary of State John Merrill for running a strong race, and for his tireless dedication to the people of Alabama.  No one has worked harder than John as he has covered every corner of our great state. John has been successful in bringing common-sense reforms and has been recognized nationally for his work to fight against voter fraud.

“Our campaign is picking up steam very fast; the outpouring of support has been overwhelming and humbling.  We are adding thousands of new supporters each week, and we will be honored to welcome all of John’s supporters as well.

“I’m heading to the U.S. Senate because there is an immense battle raging in this country, a battle for the very soul of America.  We have great opportunities, but we also have great peril. The Democrats in Washington want socialism, open borders, and an end to our freedoms of speech and religion.

“The Democrats are mad that I decided to run, and they should be.  In Washington, I will fight for the highest and best values of the people of Alabama.”