Merrill joins GOP race to unseat Alabama Democrat in Senate

John Merrill, Alabama Secretary of State (Source: Gray DC Bureau)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill is joining a growing field of Republican primary candidates competing for a chance to unseat Democratic Sen. Doug Jones next year.

Merrill announced his candidacy Tuesday in a news conference at the Alabama Capitol.

He said Alabama needs a "proven conservative" in the Senate seat who will support President Donald Trump on immigration, judicial appointments and other issues.

With 100 supporters standing behind him, Merrill said Jones would be better suited to representing New York or California.

The 55-year-old Republican is a former member of the Alabama Legislature.

Also running in the GOP primary are former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville, legislator Arnold Mooney and businessman Stanley Adair.