Sen. Tom Whatley of Auburn announced this morning he is withdrawing from a disputed race in the Republican primary in the east Alabama district he has represented for 12 years.
“I now believe that it is in the best interest of my friends, colleagues, family, and the Republican Party, for me to step away from this tied race so that we can move forward and have success in November,” Whatley said in a statement released by his campaign.
The Alabama Republican Party declared a tie in the race between Whatley and Auburn City Councilman Jay Hovey last Saturday and announced it would settle the deadlock with a coin flip.
The GOP’s candidate committee was scheduled to hold a second hearing this morning and reconsider its decision to count a provisional ballot that put the race into a tie.
Whatley was seeking a fourth term representing District 27, which includes parts of Lee, Russell, and Tallapoosa counties.
Here’s his full statement:
“The last twelve years have been fantastic. I have loved serving in the Alabama Senate.
“I have made lifelong friendships with many fantastic people. Hands down, the best thing about my Senate service has been speaking to an Auburn University class where I met my wife Lauren. We are thrilled to have recently welcomed our daughter, Laurel, into the world.
“I am a Republican. I want to thank all my supporters and friends who have reached out to me during this process. I’ve been a delegate to the last three Republican conventions. I am the Republican nominee who was voted by Republicans in my district.
“With that said, I now believe that it is in the best interest of my friends, colleagues, family, and the Republican Party, for me to step away from this tied race so that we can move forward and have success in November.
“I am looking forward to spending some quality time with my wife and daughter, focusing on my law practice and other business interests. It has been the honor of a lifetime serving the people of Lee, Tallapoosa and Russell counties.”
This story will be updated.