Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill Won’t Run for Senate, Admits Affair

Alabama’s Secretary of State, John Merrill, says he will not run for the United States Senate after admitting he had “an inappropriate relationship with a 44-year-old woman.”

John Merrill said in a statement he would not be seeking any elected position in 2022. Merrill had intended a much-anticipated run for the Senate. He even retweeted someone touting former President Trump’s endorsement of Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) instead of waiting for others to announce.

In a statement provided to AL.com, he said:

I will obviously not be a candidate for the United States Senate nor will I be seeking any other elected position in 2022, because I think it’s important to me to make sure that.

I become the man that I have been before and that I am working to put myself in the position to be the leader that I have been before, as a husband, as a father, as a friend and as an elected official.

During an interview with AL Wednesday morning, Merrill at first denied the affair accusations against him, saying the accuser, Cesaire McPherson, was “stalking” and “harassing” him.

Reportedly, McPherson told AL she did not want to answer any questions regarding this on the record. “I don’t want to say anything other than here’s the proof that John Merrill is a liar,” She told AL. McPherson provided the publication with a 17-minute recording from October 2020 of a conversation between herself and Merrill. “Here’s the true John Merrill,” she said.

In the recording, Merrill and McPherson discuss the various “sexual acts” they had done over “dozens of romantic encounters.” McPherson said they took place between November 2017 and November 2020. Merrill told AL, “‘there’s no excuse’ for his extramarital relationship,” after hearing part of the tapes. He said:

It’s clear that I had an inappropriate relationship with her, and it is not something that I am proud of or something that is something that — I’m very disappointed in myself. I’m also disappointed that I allowed my family to be embarrassed by this action, and it’s something that I certainly will always regret because of the pain that it has caused my family.

The original allegations were first made public in the National File on Tuesday, who released an audio file.

AL released parts of the transcript:

Early in the call, McPherson asks Merrill, “the last time that we had sex, that’s the last time ever?” Merrill responded, “well, it was a pretty good day.” McPherson asks again if “that’s the last time ever” and Merrill says “it’s supposedly the last time ever.

McPherson goes on to ask Merrill in explicit detail about sex acts she says they engaged in on multiple occasions and about specific locations.

He told her later in the call he hoped to draw strength from God to resist continuing their affair.

“I am not able to stay away from you, so that’s the reason why I have to have help in order to do that … the help is coming from the Lord,” he said.

“You already went against your marriage … So you’ve already done it, you can’t take that back, you can’t change it,” McPherson said.

“Can’t take anything back. Can’t change anything. All I can do is what I can do from today forward,” Merrill responded.

According to AL, after Merrill listened to parts of the recordings on Wednesday, he “reflected on what it had cost him and those around him.”

“I hope someone can use me as an example of how they have the opportunity to accomplish things, but because of poor choices and poor decisions in things, it can result in a negative impact for a lot of people that you did not intend to impact,” Merrill said. “That’s because I exercised poor choices and poor discipline. Maybe some good can come out of this for somebody else.”

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GOP Election Integrity Leader: ‘Every State in the Union’ Should Ban Private Election Administration Funding

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) said “every state in the union,” should eliminate the private donor funding of election administration in an exclusive interview on Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Saturday with host Matt Boyle.

“We had states that sacrificed security, accountability, transparency for accessibility and availability of the ballot. We should never sacrifice security, transparency, and accountability in the elections process for anything,” Merrill,  co-chair of the recently established election integrity commission of the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) said.

Boyle noted the 2020 general election was unique in that, for the first time, major private donors — such as Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, who donated $350 million to the Center for Technology and Civic Live (CTCL) and $69 million to the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR) this election cycle — funded the administration of elections in many counties and localities around the country.

“It seems very wrong to me that a private oligarch, a billionaire like Mark Zuckerberg, or any other billionaire, I don’t care what their politics are, they could be the Koch Brothers…  I just don’t think that they should be funding election offices. That’s a function of our government of our states… I know that there’s a proposal in Georgia that they’re considering to make it illegal for local election offices to accept such money. It seems like that’s a common sense thing. Elections should be run by our governments at the state level, and local level, not funded by whatever… special interest donors exist out there,” Boyle said.

“You are correct. One of the things that we are doing in our state because we did not have anything on the books, we had no statutory language in Alabama that eliminated that [private funding of the administration of elections at the county and local level] as a practice in electioneering,” Merrill responded.

“We’re going to be having our legislature, our House and Senate, consider legislation just like they’re doing in Georgia. We think every state in the union should do the same thing. That is not an acceptable practice. To have a third party group, regardless of their political philosophy, come in and try to encourage people (a) to participate in the process, but (b), even more than that, demonstrate their bent towards a political philosophy of one party or the other in regard to this. You are correct, and that is one of the things we’re giving attention to,” Merrill said.

Merrill also explained that, during the 2020 general elections, some states made sure every jurisdiction followed state election laws, while other states did not.

“In Alabama we have laws in force, in place, and adhered to in all 67 counties. It’s the same thing in the 67 counties in Florida. Florida learned that the hard way in Bush v. Gore 2000,” Merrill said.

In contrast, Merrill noted, “In the 15 counties in Arizona, the 16 counties in Nevada, the 67 counties in California, the 67 counties in Pennsylvania,  the 46 counties in South Carolina, and as everybody knows, the 159 counties in Georgia, they are not following their own laws in their own local jurisdictions.”

“We believe that each state should be responsible for their own elections. We don’t have national elections. We have 50 state elections for a national office when it comes to the presidency. But we know that each state should follow their own laws in each jurisdiction in their state. That’s what we’re promoting. That’s what we’re doing by introducing these best practices across the union,” Merrill said of the work of the RSLC election integrity commission he co-chairs along with Michigan state Sen. Ruth Johnson (R).
“We’ve never seen this before, and I think it clearly had a demonstrable impact on the results of the election,” Boyle said of the private funding of the administration of elections in many counties and local jurisdictions around the country.

“They picked and choosed [sic] where they sent the money… They sent the vast majority to inner cities. It clearly juiced up turnout in a lot of these places. One could argue, if you look at the areas where Zuckerberg sent this money, through the various non-profits that he set up, that altered the outcome of the election,” Boyle noted.

“One could argue that because that’s exactly what happened,” Merrill said.

“They offered the money, as far as I know, to every state in the union,” Merrill said of the Zuckerberg-funded organizations.

“We [at the state level in Alabama] declined receipt of the resources. We told them we did not want the money,” Merrill added, noting that eight counties in Alabama — including Jefferson County, in which the city of Birmingham is located, did accept money from a Zuckerberg-funded organization.

“What you saw across the union, when those states accepted it [the Zuckerberg-funded private donations from CTCL and CEIR],  in Pennsylvania, there was a heavy concentration in Pittsburgh; there was a heavy concentration in Philadelphia, but out in Scranton, out in Harrisburg… and other parts of the state where you don’t have a concentration of a majority minority area, you don’t see an investment of those resources there,” the Alabama Secretary of State noted.

“It was designed to get the vote out to more heavily influence the results in that particular state for Democratic candidates at the local, at the federal, and obviously at the presidential level,” Merrill concluded in his response to Boyle’s question.

You can listen to the full interview here:

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