Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is preparing to announce a run for Senate in Alabama on Thursday, according to multiple reports.
Sessions, a Republican, “will come out forcefully in support of [President] Trump’s agenda while denouncing Democrats’ impeachment efforts. And steps have already begun to hire campaign staff,” a person familiar with Sessions’ strategy told The Hill.
The former Alabama senator held his old seat for two decades from 1997 until 2017, when he gave it up to join the Trump administration as attorney general. There, he found himself on the receiving end of Trump’s barbs during the Russia investigation after he recused himself from overseeing the probe. Sessions recused himself from all Russia-related matters in 2017 after it was revealed that he met privately with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak while serving on Trump’s campaign. He finally resigned as attorney general in November at Trump’s request.
Sessions became the first senator to endorse Trump during the 2016 election cycle and spearheaded the administration’s controversial “zero tolerance” immigration policy that prompted bipartisan backlash when it resulted in the separation of families at the border.
Should he win the Republican primary, Sessions will be up against incumbent Doug Jones, considered the most vulnerable Senate Democrat. Jones won a special election to fill Sessions’ seat against Roy Moore, who was pilloried during his campaign over accusations of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls. Moore is running again in the primary, along with former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, businessman Stanley Adair, state Rep. Arnold Mooney and Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.).
Byrne warned that Sessions’ turbulent relationship with Trump could damage his standing in deep red Alabama.
“I think it would be a mistake for him and really bad for the state given the president’s extreme displeasure with him. Alabama is very pro-Trump,” Byrne said.
The White House has also reportedly sent out signals that it would view a Sessions run “extremely unfavorably.”
Friday marks the deadline to file for the Alabama Senate race, and the primary is scheduled for March 3.