MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — John Merrill, the Tuscaloosa native who has served as Secretary of State since 2015, will not seek political office when his current term ends in 2023.

As secretary of state, Merrill is not allowed to seek a third consecutive term in office.

In an interview with the Associated Press Wednesday, Merrill said he had made “poor choices that impacted his family.” The report also mentioned an interview Merrill gave to earlier that day, where they reported that he had an inappropriate relationship with a woman outside his marriage.

When reached for comment, Merrill did not confirm the report.

On Wednesday, Merrill released the following statement:

“Since January of 2015, it has been my honor to serve as the 53rd Secretary of State of Alabama. During my time in office, we implemented America’s toughest voter ID law, slashed our office budget and saved Alabama families millions, and made government operate at the speed of business, as opposed to the speed of government.

“With the end of my term coming up in January of 2023, I have been presented with a variety of options for where my path in public service could lead. After much prayer, reflection, and conversations with my wife, Cindy, I have decided that I will not be a candidate for any office in 2022.

“Life presents us with a series of chapters, some more challenging than others, in our book of life, and when one finishes, another one begins. While I remain fully committed to continuing my service as your Secretary of State through the end of my term, I do not know what the next chapter will present for me and my family.

“I am incredibly humbled by the outpouring of support of many Alabamians throughout our great state. I am surrounded by a great team and we look forward to finishing the goals we set out to achieve before our term ends in January of 2023. I will follow the path the Lord puts in front of me to see what happens next. Regardless, I am extraordinarily proud of all that we have been able to accomplish in the last six years, two months, and 19 days that I have had the esteemed privilege of serving as your 53rd Secretary of State.”

Before his role as secretary of state, Merrill had served in the Alabama House of Representatives from 2010 to 2014. He also unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination for Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat in 2019 before ending his campaign.

The Alabama Democrats released a statement on Merrill’s alleged inappropriate relationship.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.