Richard Shelby to face primary challengers

Richard Shelby and Jonathan McConnell

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby may finally have to tap into his $19 million campaign war chest — he’s being primaried.

Filing just before the Friday 5 p.m. deadline, Iraq War veteran and small business owner Jonathan McConnell announced he would challenge the five-term Republican senator in a primary.

McConnell, 33, of Homewood, made the announcement at the Alabama Republican Party headquarters.

Washington is broken. But instead of leaders who are focused on solving the problem, our politicians are focused on profiting from the work we send them to do in Washington. That’s why I’m running – because its time to put an end to politicians who profit while we pay,” said McConnell.

A graduate of Auburn University, Captain McConnell served in the Marines from 2005 – 2008, where he was stationed on the outskirts of Fallujah, Iraq in 2006 and was then redeployed to the Syrian Border in 2007 where he commanded the Second Mobile Assault Platoon and was Executive Officer of Weapons Company.

Upon returning, he earned his law degree at the University of Alabama. While a law student, McConnell founded Meridian Global Consulting — a global maritime security company which combats the Somali Piracy threat against merchant vessels — where he currently serves as President and CEO.

While he’s not been in office himself, McConnell is no stranger to politics. His father, Roger McConnell, was chairman of the Alabama Republican Party in 1993-94.

“We need that kind of bold, conservative leadership in Washington. The insiders and politicians are ruining this country, and we need to take it back from them before they do any more damage,” McConnell explained in a statement..

McConnell isn’t Shelby’s only primary opponent. Former state Sen. Shadrack McGillJohn Martin and Marcus Bowman will all face-off in the March 1 primary — the winner of which will likely take the Senate seat in November.


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