HUNTSVILLE, Ala – After much speculation, Senator Richard Shelby made it public today and announced his plans not to seek re-election at the end of his sixth term in office in 2022.
The Senator’s decision to retire marks an end to a remarkable four-decade career in Washington and leaves behind some big shoes to fill.
“We’re going to miss Senator Shelby,” said former Democratic Rep. Bud Cramer, who remains a close friend of the long-serving Republican senator.
“Senator Shelby was all about accomplishing things for Alabama and he went on the Appropriations Committee. That’s where he felt that he could make the biggest difference,” said Cramer.
Shelby has helped funnel millions of dollars towards a number of key projects in North Alabama.
One of his most notable accomplishments includes securing incentives for a new FBI campus at Redstone Arsenal. He is also credited with helping to initially steer the Air Force’s decision to designate Huntsville as a “preferred site” for the U.S. Space Command Headquarters.
“Shelby was about relationships, Shelby was about getting things done,” said Cramer.
Despite occasional policy differences with those across the aisle, Cramer said Shelby, has when possible, embraced bipartisanship as a necessary tool to get the job done.
“He was very troubled by where the dialogue had gotten so hostile and so partisan from one side to the other. That got in the way of what Shelby wanted to accomplish,” said Cramer
While it’s still early, speculation has already begun over who might be readying to make a run at filling the Senator’s seat.
Some of the early names to pop up as potential candidates include the Senator’s former chief of staff, Katie Boyd Britt, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, and Rep. Mo Brooks (R), who has indicated he will either run for re-election or seek Senator Shelby’s seat.