Senator Richard Shelby (R., Ala.) announced on Monday that he will not run for reelection in 2022.
Shelby is the third Republican senator to say he will not seek reelection at the end of his current term, along with Rob Portman of Ohio and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. At age 86, Shelby is currently in his sixth term in office and is the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Sen SHELBY: "Today I announce that I will not seek a seventh term in the United State Senate in 2022. For everything, there is a season." pic.twitter.com/oRo3pX7YXl
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) February 8, 2021
“For everything, there is a season,” Shelby wrote in his announcement. “Thank you again for the honor you have given me—the honor to serve the people of Alabama in Congress for the last 42 years.”
Initially elected in 1986 as a Democrat, Shelby switched parties in 1994 one day after Republicans won a Senate majority in the midterm elections. Throughout his tenure Shelby sought to advance Alabama interests, including military manufacturers and Gulf Coast ports. Shelby also helped establish the headquarters of the newly-formed U.S. Space Command in the city of Huntsville.
Alabama has seen several high-profile contests for the state’s other Senate seat in recent years, beginning after a number of women accused former Senator Roy Moore of molesting them when they were under the age of 18. While Moore denied the allegations, prominent Republicans including Shelby called on Moore to bow out of a 2018 special election.
“I couldn’t vote for Roy Moore, I didn’t vote for Roy Moore, but I wrote in a distinguished Republican name, and I think a lot of people could do that,” Shelby told CNN after the election. “I think so many accusations, so many cuts, so many drip, drip, drip. When it got to the 14-year-old story, that was enough for me.”
Democrat Doug Jones defeated Moore, however in the 2020 general election Jones lost to freshman Republican Tommy Tuberville.