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Sen. Richard Shelby will not seek a seventh term in 2022

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Sen. Richard Shelby will not seek a seventh term in 2022

Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby announced on Monday that he would not seek reelection to a seventh term in 2022.

“Although I plan to retire, I am not leaving today. I have two good years remaining to continue my work in Washington. I have the vision and the energy to give it my all​,” he said in a statement. ​

“Thank you again for the honor you have given me – the honor to serve the people of Alabama in Congress for the last 42 years. I look forward to what is to come for our great state and our great nation​,” said Shelby, 86, the ranking member on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.​

Shelby’s decision comes amid a number of Republican senators – including Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania – that they would not run for reelection in 2022. ​

The upcoming elections in the ​Senate, which is split 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking any deadlocks for Democrats, will be hotly contested as Democrats seek to expand their slim majority and Republicans who hope to flip the Senate back to their control.​

The possibility that Shelby’s seat would be replaced by a Democrat is unlikely since Democrat Sen. Doug Jones was ousted in November by his Republican challenger, former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville.

Jones defeated former Judge Roy Moore, who was dogged by allegations of sexual assault, in a special election in 2017 to become the first Democrat elected to a US Senate seat in Alabama since 1992. 

When word first began percolating that Shelby might not seek reelection, the Birmingham Watch, ​a non-profit, non-partisan journalism initiative in Alabama, compiled a list of state politicians who might make a bid for his seat. 

​They include: Katie Boyd Britt, a former chief of staff for Shelby who heads up the Business Council of Alabama, John Merrill, Alabama’s secretary of state, Rep. Mo Brooks, a five-term congressman and supporter of former President Donald Trump, and Rep. Gary Palmer. 

Shelby was first elected to the Senate in 1986 as a conservative Democrat but switched parties in 1994.

 “I am grateful to the people of Alabama who have put their trust in me for more than forty years. I have been fortunate to serve in the U.S. Senate longer than any other Alabamian. During my time in the Senate, I have been given great opportunity, having chaired four committees: Appropriations, Rules, Banking, and Intelligence. In these positions of leadership, I have strived to influence legislation that will have a lasting impact – creating the conditions for growth and opportunity​,” he said in the statement.​

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FDA backs Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine as safe, effective

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FDA backs Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine as safe, effective

The Food and Drug Administration backed Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose coronavirus vaccine as safe and effective on Wednesday as the agency weighs whether to clear the shot for emergency use.

FDA staff affirmed J&J’s finding that the vaccine was 66 percent effective overall at preventing moderate and severe cases of COVID-19.

While not as strong as Pfizer and Moderna’s two-dose vaccines, that efficacy rate could still make J&J’s shot a helpful weapon in the battle against the pandemic.

New Jersey-based J&J’s clinical trial of nearly 44,000 people also produced no significant safety concerns that would prevent the FDA from granting an emergency use authorization for the vaccine, agency officials said.

The FDA released its analysis of the shot before a Friday meeting of its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, a panel of experts that will recommend whether to clear the J&J vaccine for emergency use.

The FDA granted emergency approvals for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines in December following positive recommendations from the advisory panel.

With Post Wires

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Mitt Romney says Trump would win GOP nomination in 2024

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Mitt Romney says Trump would win GOP nomination in 2024

Senator Mitt Romney said that President Donald Trump would win the GOP nomination “in a landslide” if he decided to make a run for The White House again in 2024.

Romney (R – Utah) was speaking to the New York Times’ DealBook when he addressed Trump’s position in the future of the Republican Party.

“He has by far the largest voice and a big impact in my party,” Romney said. “I don’t know if he’s planning to run in 2024 or not, but if he does, I’m pretty sure he would win the nomination.”

Romney made clear that “a lot can happen between now and 2024” but cited polls that show Trump “would win in a landslide” if he were in the race.

A Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted in the days after his acquittal in the Senate trial showed that 53 percent of Republicans would vote for Trump in the primary. Mike Pence received 12 percent in the poll. All other candidates were in the single digits.

But the Utah Senator made clear that he would not be a supporter of Trump, siding with his smaller caucus instead.

“I would probably be getting behind somebody who I thought more represented the tiny wing of the Republican party that I represent,” he said.

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Italian landslide sends 200 coffins falling into the sea

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Italian landslide sends 200 coffins falling into the sea

More than 200 coffins plummeted into the sea when the cliff near a cemetery in coastal Italy collapsed, according to reports.

Workers at Camogli Cemetery, which was built over 100 years ago near the coast of Genoa, first noticed a crack along the cemetery wall on Saturday during some routine maintenance, according to Francesco Olivari, the mayor of Camogli.

“Some signs of fissures were seen. We decided to close the cemetery,” Olivari told CNN.

The 200 coffins were sent into the sea when the cliff collapsed on Monday.

Crews have recovered 10 of the coffins. At least 190 were unaccounted for on Tuesday.

Finding the remaining coffins “will depend on the sea in the coming days,” according to the Regional Assessor of Civil Protection, Giacomo Giampedrone.

As of Monday, Giampedrone said that the port authority has blocked the coastal area near the cemetery to prevent any coffins from floating out to sea.

“This type of collapse that happened today is very hard to detect or to predict,” Olivari said. “This area is subject to this type of collapse — it’s very fragile.”

The Office of Civil Protection in Liguria was called in to assess the situation and see if there was still any further potential of landslides as well as understand the true extent of the damage.

The mayor called this incident an “unimaginable catastrophe.”

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