Eleven sitting United States senators wrote an open letter on Friday expressing their support for former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who announced only a day earlier that he was officially throwing his hat into the ring and running to regain the U.S. Senate seat in Alabama that he previously occupied.
“Each of us has served in the United States Senate with Jeff Sessions,” the letter read. “We have seen him work diligently in the public eye and behind closed doors, when things were both good and bad, under stress and in success.”
“We know Jeff’s character and his temperament. We know his commitment to his principles. We know he is a man of his word. And we know he is devoted to serving the people of Alabama,” it continued. “We believe Jeff Sessions has more to offer his country, and we believe the United States Senate will be better with his experience and leadership.”
The endorsement letter was signed by Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Deb Fischer (R-NE), James Inhofe (R-OK), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and Richard Shelby (R-AL), who represented Alabama with Sessions for two decades.
“Jeff Sessions is a good friend and a respected former colleague,” Shelby said. “I believe he is well-suited to return to his role as United States Senator for the state of Alabama, where I served with him for more than 20 years. He has my full support and endorsement.”
Sessions revealed on Thursday evening that he would be joining the crowded Alabama Republican primary field. Sessions held Alabama’s junior Senate seat for four terms before he was appointed to the role of attorney general under President Donald Trump. Trump and Sessions’ relationship soured after the former AG recused himself from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Trump ultimately forced Sessions’ resignation from the Department of Justice.
Democrats won control of the Senate seat in 2017 after the state held a special election to replace Sessions, who vacated the seat when he was tapped to head the Justice Department. Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) defeated his Republican challenger Roy Moore, who faced massive blowback after allegations arose that Moore had molested a teenager in the 1970s.
Despite the controversy, Jones won the special election by less than 2% of the vote and is now considered to be one of the most vulnerable incumbent senators in the 2020 election cycle. The typically red state voted for Trump by nearly 30 points.
While announcing his candidacy, Sessions reiterated his support for the president and will largely be running on his agenda. However, Trump told reporters on Friday that he is still unsure whether or not he will be endorsing Sessions.
“Well I haven’t gotten involved. I saw he said very nice things about me last night. But we’ll have to see,” he said before departing the White House for events in Georgia. “I haven’t made a determination.”