Del Marsh on Aug 24.jpg
Sen. Del Marsh of Anniston has been leader of the Alabama Senate since 2010.
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh announced this morning he would not seek the U.S. Senate seat previously held by Jeff Sessions.
Marsh, a Republican from Anniston who has led the state Senate since 2010, said he seriously considered entering the race but said he can provide the state needed stability in his current position.
"It's been a hard decision," Marsh said. "I've thought about it and talked to a lot of people. My wife and I talked last night. And it came down to the wire.
"But quite honestly, I probably had really made this decision about a week ago but wanted to make sure I was fully convinced that was what was best for the state. And I think it is, I really do."
are Sen. Luther Strange, who has held the seat since his appointment by former Gov. Robert Bentley in February, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks of Huntsville, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, state Rep. Ed Henry of Hartselle, Christian Coalition of Alabama President Randy Brinson, Hoover businessman Dominic Gentile and business executive Bryan Peeples of Birmingham.
Two other candidates - Mary Maxwell and Joseph F. Breault - have also qualified, according to the Alabama Republican Party.
On the Democratic side, candidates include: Michael Hansen - Hansen, executive director of Alabama environmental advocacy group Gasp; Doug Jones, a former U.S. Attorney who is now in private practice; Robert Kennedy Jr., who lives in Mobile, according to the paperwork he filed with the State Democratic party; and Jason Fisher, of Orange Beach, the vice president and senior consultant at Ruffalo Noel Levitz, a direct marketing company.
In the past few weeks, there has been much speculation Marsh would enter the race.
Marsh earlier this month said he met with officials with the National Republican Senatorial Committee and was told they would work to protect Strange as the incumbent.
"I don't consider Gov. Bentley's hand-chosen senator to be the incumbent. I think the people will choose that in an election cycle," Marsh said he told the NRSC officials.
Qualifying for the race ends today at 5 p.m. The primary is set for August 15. A runoff - if needed - will be held Sept. 26 with the general election on Dec. 12.
Marsh was asked if his decision not to enter the Senate race clears the way for him to run for governor next year. He repeated what he had previously said, that he would not be inclined to run against Gov. Kay Ivey is she seeks a rull term. Ivey has not announced her plans.
"Anything is possible, Marsh said. "Let me say this, I fully support Gov. Ivey. My first inclination would be that if she chooses to seek that office I think I would be supportive.
"But that's her choice. But should she not, then it's obviously probably something I would look at because the timing would be better than the situation with the U.S. Senate."