Byrne and Aderholt Pass on Alabama Senate Race

Join Alabama Republican House colleagues in not challenging Luther Strange

 Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., said he would focus on protecting his district’s priorities in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Alabama Reps. Bradley Byrne and Robert B. Aderholt both announced they will not challenge Sen. Luther Strange in a Republican senate primary this year.

Byrne said Monday he will be focused on protecting district priorities like the Littoral Combat Ship program and securing money for the Interstate 10 bridge project, AL.com reported.

“The people of Alabama will have the opportunity to pick their next Senator, and I encourage everyone to stay engaged as the election moves forward,” he said in a statement.

Aderholt spokesman Brian Bell told AL.com Monday that his boss had considered getting into the race, but had decided against it.

Strange’s appointment by then-Gov. Robert Bentley to fill out the term of Jeff Sessions, who is now U.S. attorney general, was criticized because of Strange’s efforts to halt impeachment proceedings in the state legislature against the governor. Bentley later resigned in disgrace  while Strange was the state’s attorney general.

Bentley later resigned as impeachment proceedings over using state resources to carry on an extramarital affair with an aide.

The Senate election was originally set for 2018, but Bentley's successor, Gov. Kay Ivey, moved the date to this year.

Strange has said he’ll run for the seat this year and suspended state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore announced last week he would challenge Strange. State Rep. Ed Henry and Christian Coalition of Alabama President Randy Brinson are also in the primary.

Byrne and Aderholt join GOP House colleagues Gary Palmer and Martha Roby, and Democrat Terri Sewell, who all earlier announced they weren’t running.

Ron Crumpton, executive director of the Alabama Patients’ Rights Coalition is the only announced Democrat so far.

The state parties have set May 17 as the qualifying date. Party primaries will be held August 15, with a potential runoff on Sept. 26, and the general election on Dec. 12.

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