U.S. Senate candidate Jessica Taylor of Weaver has withdrawn from the Republican Party primary race for the seat being vacated by Richard Shelby.
In taking herself out of the running, Taylor, 37, tossed her support to another candidate, businessman Mike Durant, and encouraged her supporters to vote for him.
“After meeting Mike, I quickly realized he is an outsider with an inspiring life story and has the best shot at beating the establishment careerists,” Taylor wrote. “We don’t need another career politician in Washington. We need a pro-Trump conservative with the guts to take on the establishment.”
Taylor, who had dropped behind in recent polls, said in a telephone interview Wednesday that the decision was hard because her heart was still in the race.
“The experience taught me a lot,” she said. “There are so many freedom loving patriots ready to stand up and fight back against government overreach and overspending.”
The primary, set for May 24, features two other candidates besides Durant. They are U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks and Katie Boyd Britt, the former chief of staff for Shelby.
In a December poll by McLaughlin & Associates, Brooks, who at 31.4 percent was leading Britt, who was 26.2 percent. Durant was at 16.6 percent. Taylor was at 4 percent. The number of undecided was 21.8 percent.
Tuesday was the opening day of qualifying for the Republicans seeking nomination. The qualifying deadline is Jan. 28.
Taylor is the chief visionary officer of a successful grant-writing business, Azimuth Grants. She doesn’t rule out running again for political office someday, but for now, she is looking forward to going back to her company and spending more time with her family members, including her parents, Miranda and Roger Fair of Weaver.
Taylor, who lives in Prattville and graduated from Weaver High School and Jacksonville State University, is a single mother of three children, ages seven, nine and 11, and hopes to spend more time with them. She is even considering taking piano lessons along with them. They have missed her, she said, but they are also sad that she has dropped out of the race.
Taylor hopes to stay active in the private sector of politics and to reach out to young people and minority groups.
One of the lessons she has learned is that being a political candidate is a thankless job and that half of the people hated her.
“That is difficult,” she said, “and you have to have thick skin, a strong moral compass and trust your gut.”