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

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (L) speaks during a press conference in Montgomery, Alabma, on December 12, 2017. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)
Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

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, 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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