U.S.Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Fairhope, addresses a crowd of about 60 people on Monday, April 17, 2017, at the Wilmer, Ala., senior citizens center during the first of 11 town hall events he's hosting within a week. Byrne is among the 20 most prolific congressional lawmakers in hosting town hall events in the U.S., according to the website LegiStorm. Byrne announced on Monday, May 1, 2017, that he will not seek the Senate seat formerly held by Jeff Sessions. (John Sharpemail@example.com).
U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne said Monday that he will not seek the U.S. Senate seat later this summer.
His announcement came on the same day that U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, the senior House member of Alabama's seven representatives, also said he wasn't running.
In a statement, Byrne said he will focus on important priorities for his coastal Alabama district that includes protecting the Littoral Combat Ship program produced out of Mobile's Austal USA facility, and securing funding for the $850 million Interstate 10 Bridge project from downtown Mobile to Baldwin County.
"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," Byrne said in a news release.
Byrne joins five other of his Alabama House colleagues to announce their intentions on not running for the Senate seat. They include Aderholt, Rep. Gary Palmer, Martha Roby, Mike Rogers and Terri Sewell. Rep. Mo Brooks has not announced his intentions for the race.
Republicans who have declared their candidacies include U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed to the Senate in February by former Gov. Robert Bentley. Also running is Roy Moore, former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, state Rep. Ed Henry and Christian Coalition of Alabama President Randy Brinson.
Democrat Ron Crumpton, executive director of the Alabama Patients' Rights Coalition, has also announced his candidacy.
Gov. Kay Ivey last month rescheduled the special election to fill the void left when Jeff Sessions became U.S. attorney general.
Bentley originally scheduled it to correspondent with the 2018 election cycle, but Ivey changed it to this year. She took over as governor on April 10 after Bentley resigned following a guilty plea to two misdemeanors of campaign finance violations stemming from a year-long scandal involving a former aide.
The party primaries will take place Aug. 15, followed by runoffs on Sept. 26 if necessary and the general election will take place Dec. 12.
The Democrat and Republican parties in Alabama have set a qualifying date of May 17 for candidates.