Alabama secretary of state admits affair, denies calling Black people 'the coloreds,' drops Senate bid
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) said Wednesday morning that he had not had an extramarital affair and claims that the woman who claimed otherwise, Cesaire McPherson, "persecuted" and "molested" him. When AL.com played Merrill a tape recorded by him and McPherson discussing various sexual acts they had engaged in dozens of encounters, Merrill acknowledged the matter and said he would not make an expected run for the Senate seat that was run by Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.).
"It's clear that I had an inappropriate relationship with her, and it's not something I'm proud of or something I'm very disappointed in," Merrill told AL.com. "I will obviously not be a candidate for the United States Senate, nor will I seek any other elected position in 2022." Merrill, who has been in office since 2014, was on a temporary basis because he was seeking a third term. Conservative MP Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) And Lynda Blanchard, President Trump's ambassador to Slovenia, are both expected to run for Shelby's seat.
McPherson, 44, had sent Merrill explicit text messages on Tuesday to the conservative National File website, and then posted a 17-minute audio recording to AL.com with an excerpt published. "All I want to say here is proof that John Merrill is a liar," she told AL.com. "This is the real John Merrill."
In a lengthy interview with National File, McPherson said Merrill used his state car and cell phone to continue their affair and that he was a "really bad racist" who would refer to blacks as "the colored".
The Alabama Democratic Party highlighted these allegations. "Except for using government funds to ease his affair, Merrill's personal life and conduct are just that - personal," said Wade Perry, executive director of the state party. "The Democratic Party is much more concerned about the claim that he has consistently referred to African American judges and residents in Alabama as 'The Coloreds.' If that's true, apologize AND resign immediately."
Merrill said it wasn't true and told AL.com on Wednesday night that he had "never called African-Americans and blacks" blacks, "adding," I don't do that. I never did that. " Regarding the use of government funds, he said he had "nothing else to say about this particular incident now or in the future."
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