Secretary of State John Merrill should resign if there was misconduct, Alabama Democrats say

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Following Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill’s admission of “poor decisions” he made while in office, state Democrats are calling on the Tuscaloosa native to resign.

While Gov. Ivey thinks that decision should be up to Merrill, state Democrats have a different take. On Wednesday, Merrill confirmed to AL.com that he had had an affair while in office. When reached for comment, Merrill did not confirm the report.

“If there is any issues of impropriety or malfeasance, then he needs to do just as it was done to Governor Bentley; he was asked to step down and he should resign immediately,” said Rep. Juandalynn Givan (D-Jefferson), who spoke on behalf of the Alabama Democratic Party.

In 2017, former Gov. Robert Bentley resigned from office after pleading guilty to misdemeanor campaign finance law violations related to him using state funds to carry out an alleged affair with staffer Rebekah Mason.

Givan’s comments come as the woman who claimed to have had an affair with Merrill accused him of using his state-issued cell phone to text her, as well as driving his state vehicle to carry out the affair. On Wednesday, Merrill said he would not seek political office once his term expires in 2023.

For Givan, it’s the woman’s accusations that Merrill used racist language that hit home.  

“The things he may or may not have said in regard to black folks and believe it or not, I don’t think just stopped right there. And I have no reason to believe this young woman has a reason to lie,” Givan said.  

If Merrill chooses to resign, Ivey would be responsible for appointing his replacement.

The Alabama Attorney General’s Office had no comment when asked about about any potential probe into allegations Merrill misused state property during the affair.  

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