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Longtime U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) is backing his former chief of staff Katie Britt in the race to replace him, Politico reported on Thursday.

In an interview with Politico, Shelby said, “she’s probably the best-qualified candidate to come along in a long time… I’d support her, I’d vote for her.”

Shelby announced his retirement after six terms in the U.S. Senate back in February. He is the longest-serving U.S. Senator in Alabama history.

In response to Shelby’s comments, Britt released the following statement to

I’m truly grateful for Senator Shelby’s kind words and support. As Alabama’s greatest statesman, he has been an effective advocate for Alabama jobs and opportunities. Each and every vote I earn is humbling, and the endorsement I’m trying to earn every single day is that of the people of Alabama.

U.S. Senate candidate Katie Boyd Britt

Britt, the former head of the Business Council of Alabama, formally entered the race to succeed Shelby on Tuesday. She joins former U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia Lynda Blanchard and U.S. Representative Mo Brooks, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.