President Trump’s first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is expected to announce a campaign for his old Senate seat in Alabama on Thursday, according to several sources.
Background: Sessions who spent 20 years in Senate, was asked to serve under President Trump as his attorney general after he proved to be an important ally during the 2016 elections. He was ousted by the president in November 2018 after angering him by recusing himself from the probe into Russian interference. Since then, President Trump has openly criticized Sessions and at one point said appointing him as his attorney general was “the biggest mistake” of his presidency.
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“I would say if I had one do-over, it would be, I would not have appointed Jeff Sessions to be attorney general,” Trump said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.
The story: According to sources who’ve spoken to The Hill, Session has been recently preparing to enter the March 3 Alabama Senate race, where he would face Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), businessman Stanley Adair, former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville, Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-AL) and 2017 GOP nominee Roy Moore who lost the bid for Sessions’ seat in 2018.
Sessions “will come out forcefully in support of Trump’s agenda while denouncing Democrats’ impeachment efforts. And steps have already begun to hire campaign staff,” the sources said. He’s also hired a consulting firm for the campaign OnMessage, they said, but the company still has not confirmed this information.
The former attorney general has until Friday to make a formal announcement.
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Comments: Some are skeptical that a potential Sessions campaign would gain traction, given his relationship with the president, but others believe that his likely bid could impact the outcome of the race.
“The one thing you want in 2020 is to ensure that the Alabama race is not a national news story. If it’s a no-drama affair, the outcome isn’t in doubt. Three or four candidates that can win by double digits over Jones. Sessions is the favorite in the primary. If Trump decides to embark upon a tweetstorm, it changes everything,” said a GOP operative.
“I can’t overemphasize this with Sessions … it isn’t final until he announces it. That’s just how he is,” another one said.
“I suspect Sessions would become an immediate front-runner if he were to enter the race … Sessions has done little to distance himself from Trump,” David Hughes, a political scientist at Auburn University in Montgomery, told NBC News.
(Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
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