Jeff Sessions Joins Alabama’s Senate Primary Despite Fight With Trump
Sessions announced his candidacy and praised the president in a press release Thursday night.
“[T]he President is doing a great job for America and Alabama, and he has my strong support,” Sessions said. “As everyone knows, President Trump and I have had our ups and downs. But here’s the important part: the President is doing great work for America.”
Sessions’ relationship with Trump deteriorated during his tenure as attorney general after he recused himself from the Justice Department’s Russia investigation, a move that caused Trump to lose control over the situation. The president continued to take jabs at Sessions on Twitter after he left the administration.
Trump said he has not yet decided whether he would endorse Sessions.
“Well, I haven’t gotten involved,” Trump told reporters. “I saw he said very nice things about me last night, but we’ll have to see. I haven’t made a determination.”
“When President Trump took on Washington, only one Senator out of a hundred had the courage to stand with him: me,” Sessions said in his first campaign video. “I was the first to support President Trump. I was his strongest advocate. I still am. We must make America great again.”
Sessions previously forfeited his Senate seat after being elected to serve as attorney general, leading to Democrat Doug Jones to take office.
As a Democrat in a traditionally Republican seat, Jones has struggled with low approval ratings throughout his tenure. A poll by Morning Consult shows Jones’ approval rating in the second quarter of the year was 39%, down 1% from the previous quarter’s results.
The GOP primary is packed with candidates hoping to win back the seat.
Some of the GOP primary candidates include Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Alabama), former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, state Rep. Arnold Mooney and Roy Moore, who lost to Jones in 2017 after being accused of sexual misconduct.
Tuberville criticized Sessions soon after he joined the race.
“Jeff Sessions entrance into this race is not a surprise. He’s been out of the swamp for less than two years, and now he’s itching to go back,” Tuberville tweeted. “He’s another career politician that the voters of Alabama will reject. As AG, he failed the President at his point of greatest need.”
Jeff Sessions entrance into this race is not a surprise. He’s been out of the swamp for less than two years, and now he’s itching to go back. He’s another career politician that the voters of Alabama will reject. As AG, he failed the President at his point of greatest need.
— Tommy Tuberville (@TTuberville) November 6, 2019
Many republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have declined to endorse a candidate in the primary.
“I think the whole campaign is going to be around what President Trump said about Jeff Sessions. I think Jeff knows what he’s getting into, and we’ll leave it up to the voters in Alabama,” Graham said.
“He ought to win that race, but he has to win it on the ground,” Shelby told NPR.