Friday, just before the Alabama Republican Party's steering committee was set to reconvene to consider the disputed Senate District 27 Republican primary contest outcome between State Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) and Auburn City Councilman Jay Hovey, Whatley formally announced he was dropping his challenge.

Whatley was first elected in 2010 and will be departing the Alabama Senate as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Hovey is set to face Democrat nominee retired U.S. Army veteran Sherri Reese in the November general election.

Statement as follows:

"The last twelve years have been fantastic. I have loved serving in the Alabama Senate. 

I have made lifelong friendships with many fantastic people. Hands down, the best thing about my Senate service has been speaking to an Auburn University class where I met my wife Lauren. We are thrilled to have recently welcomed our daughter, Laurel, into the world. 

"I am a Republican. I want to thank all my supporters and friends who have reached out to me during this process. I've been a delegate to the last three Republican conventions. I am the Republican nominee who was voted by Republicans in my district. 

"With that said, I now believe that it is in the best interest of my friends, colleagues, family, and the Republican Party, for me to step away from this tied race so that we can move forward and have success in November. 

"I am looking forward to spending some quality time with my wife and daughter, focusing on my law practice and other business interests. It has been the honor of a lifetime serving the people of Lee, Tallapoosa and Russell counties."

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