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Alabama lieutenant governor to skip Senate race in 2022

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth said Friday he will not run for the U.S. Senate seat being given up by longtime incumbent Richard Shelby next year.

Ainsworth, a first-term Republican from Guntersville, announced on social media that he had considered a bid but decided against running because his three children need a father who’s present and involved in their lives.

“I feel strongly that God’s plan currently calls for me to continue leading on the state, not federal, level of government,” he said in a tweet. Elected lieutenant governor in 2018, Ainsworth served a term in the Alabama House before that.

Shelby, 86, announced earlier this month that he won’t seek a seventh term. Several other people are considering campaigns, but only former Trump administration ambassador and businesswoman Lynda Blanchard has announced a run.

Rep. Mo Brooks of Huntsville has said he is considering a campaign, as is Secretary of State John Merrill. Another possible candidate is Shelby’s former chief of staff, Katie Boyd Britt, who now heads the Business Council of Alabama and likely would have the senator’s backing if she decided to run.

Blanchard, 61, said she never considered running for office until former President Donald Trump appointed her to serve as ambassador to Slovenia, the home country of former first lady Melania Trump. Blanchard and her husband began a commercial real estate company that has apartment complexes throughout the South.

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