Political News

Could AG Sessions get his Senate job back? Alabamians weigh in

Posted July 27

If Jeff Sessions is fired or quits, could he get his old job back?

In Alabama, they've already thinking about it.

Before he was presidentially humiliated, Sessions, the US attorney general, was elected four times to the US Senate by the people of Alabama. The last time in 2014, Sessions was unopposed.

And that's the job he gave up to join Trump's cabinet.

But should Sessions soon find himself in the attorney general unemployment line, would Alabamians take him back as their senator? The answer seems to be, "in a heartbeat!"

There's just one small problem -- his Senate seat is already taken. But Terry Lathan, the Alabama Republican Party Chairwoman, said there could be a way.

Back in February, then-Gov. Robert Bentley appointed Alabama attorney general Luther Strange to fill Sessions' vacant Senate seat until a special election could be held August 15.

Nine Republicans are currently campaigning for Sessions' old job.

Could Sessions join them?

"Absolutely not..." Lathan said. But under Alabama law, there's kind of a loophole if two things were to happen.

"First would be if all nine candidates withdrew from the race. Which would mean the party wouldn't have a nominee." Lathan said. "They would have to pick someone to run."

Secondly, Sessions would have to want to run.

But what are the chances that nine Republican candidates would voluntarily drop out of the election? Maybe not as far-fetched as you might think.

In fact, it's already being talked about.

On Wednesday, one of the leading contenders, Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, opened the door.

First, he blasted Trump for his attacks on the attorney general, accusing the President of carrying out a "public waterboarding" of Sessions. Trump's tweets, in which he called Sessions "beleaguered" and even referred to him as weak, were "insulting and inappropriate to the people of Alabama," Brooks said in a news release.

Brooks then offered to "withdraw completely from the race."

He suggested that the other Republicans do so as well, "then we clear the way for the Republican party of Alabama to nominate Jeff Sessions."

He argued that if that were to happen, Sessions would return to the Senate with 20 years of seniority -- putting him in "a compelling position to obtain key committee assignments and chairmanships," giving Alabama a leg up in importance in the chamber.

Sessions has "a seniority power and ability none of the current candidates can match until 2037 at the earliest," Brooks added.

In Sessions' hometown of Mobile, I stopped by Dick Russell's BBQ, where breakfast and politics both come in generous portions. For those seeking office in Alabama, it's where you go to see and be seen.

At just one table I sat down with a candidate for governor, several candidates for local judgeships and one for Mobile City Council.

So how would they feel about Sessions running for his own seat again?

Bill Hightower, the Republican state senator and gubernatorial candidate, said: "We're happy if he stays as attorney general because he's such a straight shooter. But if he comes back, we'll have him, because he's so well-liked here. He's rock solid and does the right thing."

I also asked Lathan whether she thought Sessions would win if he ran.

She laughed and said: "Absolutely he would be elected. I don't have to take a poll for that."


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