Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill shook up the state's political landscape Wednesday afternoon when he announced that he will neither seek re-election nor run for a US Senate seat in 2022.

Merrill's decision comes a day after allegations of an extramarital affair, racist behavior, sexual assault and more emerged in an explicit story published by the National File.

Merrill immediately denied the accusations, including on 95.3 the Bear's Steve Shannon Morning Show Wednesday, but later the same day admitted to AL.com that he had indeed been involved in an "inappropriate relationship" with 44-year-old Cesaire McPherson after his accuser shared a recording of the two of them discussing a sexual relationship.

Merrill's office then shared a press release saying the Secretary of State will not seek re-election or run for the US Senate seat that Richard Shelby will vacate at the end of this term.

“With the end of my term coming up in January of 2023, I have been presented with a variety of options for where my path in public service could lead," Merrill said. "After much prayer, reflection, and conversations with my wife, Cindy, I have decided that I will not be a candidate for any office in 2022."

Merrill said he remains committed to serving out the rest of his term as Secretary of State, which ends in January 2023.

"I am surrounded by a great team and we look forward to finishing the goals we set out to achieve before our term ends in January of 2023," Merrill said. "I will follow the path the Lord puts in front of me to see what happens next. Regardless, I am extraordinarily proud of all that we have been able to accomplish in the last six years, two months, and 19 days that I have had the esteemed privilege of serving as your 53rd Secretary of State.”

The Senate seat now seems to be Representative Mo Brooks' to lose -- already considered a front runner, Brooks won a key endorsement from former president Donald Trump Wednesday morning.

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