Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Thursday that he is officially throwing his hat into the ring and running to regain the U.S. Senate seat in Alabama that he previously occupied.
“Our freedoms have never been under attack like they are today. We have major party candidates for President campaigning on socialism, confiscating firearms, and closing down churches they disagree with,” Sessions wrote on his campaign website. “I’ve battled these forces my entire life, and I’m not about to surrender now.”
Sessions represented Alabama in the Senate 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.
While the White House has been silent on whether Trump will support Sessions’ candidacy, Sessions has reiterated his support for the president and will largely be running on his agenda.
“When I left President Trump’s cabinet, did I write a tell all book? No. Did I go on CNN and attack the President? No. Have I said a cross word about President Trump? No, and I’ll tell you why,” Sessions said in his first campaign video. “First, that would be dishonorable — I was there to serve his agenda, not mine. Second, the President is doing a great job for America and Alabama, and he has my strong support.”
“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,” he continued. “When President Trump took on Washington, only one Senator out of a hundred had the courage to stand with him: me. I was the first to support President Trump. I was his strongest advocate. I still am. We must make America great again.”
After Sessions was ousted from his role at the White House, rumors began to percolate as early as November 2018 that his future aspirations might involve retaking the Alabama seat he gave up when elevated to the attorney general position. Speculation was reignited in recent weeks after reports surfaced that he had reached out to members of the Alabama congressional delegation to test the waters of his support.
Democrats won control of Alabama’s junior 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 Republican Roy Moore, who faced massive backlash after allegations arose that Moore had molested a teenager in the 1970s. Despite the controversy, Jones won the election by less than 2 percent of the vote.
Jones is considered to be one of the most vulnerable incumbent senators in the 2020 as Alabama typically votes Republican; he is preparing for an uphill battle. Trump won the Yellowhammer state by nearly 30 points during the 2016 presidential election.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) has already endorsed Sessions’ candidacy, telling reporters days earlier, “Oh, yeah, if he runs, I will. He’s always endorsed me. He’s my friend.”