(CNN)Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama announced Monday that he will not run for reelection in 2022, after serving 42 years in Congress.
“Today I announce that I will not seek a seventh term in the US Senate in 2022,” the 86-year-old Republican said in a statement. “For everything, there is a season.”
Shelby’s announcement follows several other high profile Republican senators who’ve announced plans to not run for reelection in 2020. Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Rob Portman of Ohio have both said they will not run again when their term is up next year.
Shelby chaired the Appropriations, Rules, Banking and Intelligence committees in the Senate. He said he was proud of his work focusing on the economy, education, space exploration and, ever the appropriator, the Port of Mobile.
Shelby’s decision will open up a fierce race in the deep red state. Possible candidates include Shelby’s former chief of staff, Katie Boyd Britt, who is now the president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill and Rep. Mo Brooks.
Brooks spokesman Clay Mills declined to comment.
The Senate is currently split 50-50. Democrats are hopeful that the retirements of three other Republican senators —Portman, Toomey and Richard Burr of North Carolina — will help them cling onto their control of the Senate.
This story has been updated with additional developments Monday.