HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - With U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby announcing he will not seek reelection in 2022, the race for who will replace the longtime politician has begun.
Terry Lathan is the Chairwoman for the Alabama Republican Party, she said they’re looking to build on Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s big win in Nov. of 2020.
Wade Perry is the Executive Director of the Alabama Democratic Party, he said they’re focused on rebuilding the party and continuing to gain momentum started by former Sen. Doug Jones’s win in 2017.
Both agreed Sen. Shelby’s spot will be big shoes to fill.
“When you build up that much seniority and you know where all the traps are, and the good, the bad and the ugly, that is very valuable as a representative and as a statesmen,” Lathan said.
“We’re looking for somebody that can work with the president to get things done and bring home the bacon like Sen. Shelby always has,” Perry said.
Lathan said there are several strong potential candidates in the Republican party who could possibly run for the Senate seat.
A few she discussed were Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, President of the Alabama Business Council Katie Britt and Congressman Gary Palmer. She said there are a lot of qualified potential candidates and if several of them run it will be hard for Alabama Republican voters to choose one.
“I would be surprised, though, if we didn’t have a runoff,” she said. “To get someone with 50% plus 1 in a race this big is rare in a primary.”
When asked about possible candidates for a Democrat candidate, Perry said he wanted to keep possible names close to the vest but they are talking with people about running.
“We’ve got a party to rebuild and we’re well on the way to doing so and we’re excited about the opportunities ahead,” Perry said.
He said they could possibly be on their way to shocking the country like Georgia did in 2020.
“That 2017 victory started the process of rebuilding the party,” Perry said. “People look at what happened over in Georgia and they don’t realize that was a 10 year process and we’re 3 years into ours and getting a little bit better every day.”
He said it’s important to send a senator to Washington who will work with President Biden.
“From the port in Mobile to the space program in Huntsville, we have a lot of federal installations and a lot of federal needs,” Perry said. “We need someone who can work with a democratic president to help our communities and our citizens.”
Lathan and Perry also added 2022 will be a big year beside the Senate race, with several other statewide races happening as well.