Republican senators are open to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions returning to the chamber if he runs for the Alabama seat he vacated despite tension between him and President Donald Trump, The Hill reports.
Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., told reporters on Wednesday that he would endorse Sessions if he ran, adding that “a lot of indications point to him running,” although Sessions hasn’t announced his intent to run yet.
“He’s got to win it on the battlefield ... but if he runs, all indications are that he would win,” Shelby said.
“He’s been very popular in the state for a long time,” he added.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the second-highest ranking Republican in the Upper Chamber, said that Sessions has had a “lot of experience and seniority” in campaigning, saying he’s “someone who I think could probably win in Alabama.”
Sessions spent decades representing Alabama in the Senate before leaving to lead the Justice Department under Trump. His seat was eventually won by Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, one of the GOP’s top targets in 2020. The Hill notes that Sessions is still a popular figure in Alabama despite “his corrosive relationship with Trump,” which ended with the former attorney general’s resignation at the president’s request.
Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., who is running for the seat, warned that Sessions’ falling out with Trump could hurt his standing with the public if the president weighs in during the campaign.
“The president has been very clear about his extreme displeasure with Jeff Sessions,” Byrne said. “For Jeff’s sake, and for the state of Alabama, I hope we don’t have to endure our very popular president at great public odds with Jeff.”
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