Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) announced Monday that he'll retire at the end of 2022 rather than seek re-election for a seventh term.
Unlike his GOP colleague Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who cited increasing partisanship in Congress as a major factor in his decision to step down, it doesn't seem like this choice was particularly complicated — Shelby, who has been in Congress for over four decades, is 86 now and will be 88 in 2022. As he put it in a statement, "for everything, there is a season."
Even if Shelby's departure was anticipated, the race to succeed him in Alabama, where the seat figures to remain Republican, could be crucial in shaping the future of the Senate GOP. The party will likely have to increasingly grapple with the direction it takes amid the growing divide between those who want to move past former President Donald Trump and those who believe he's cemented himself as the central figure in the party. Tim O'Donnell