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Sessions’ seat is object of desire, five top the list… for now

Bill Britt

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By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

There are a number of individuals jockeying to replace Senator Jeff Sessions, should he resign to take a position in President-Elect Donald J. Trump’s administration. A vast army of office seekers is hoping to curry favor with Governor Robert Bentley, the one man who holds the key to Senatorial ascendancy. An administration insider claims there is a top five list from which Bentley will select Sessions’ replacement, should he step aside.

As any close observer of Bentley knows, a list on his desk today could easily be found in the trash tomorrow.

According to our source, approximately 40 individuals have been considered since Trump’s election. Reports also tell us that the Governor has spoken with several State Senators, including Cam Ward and Del Marsh. Other suitors include the entire Alabama Congressional delegation, with Congressman Mo Brooks most vocally expressing his desire, followed by freshmen Representative Gary Palmer.

Others who have been mentioned for the US Senate seat include Perry Hooper Jr., President-elect Trump’s Alabama co-chair, as well as others outside state government.

Under the caveat “important is true,” Bentley has narrowed the field to include only competent, non-controversial candidates who can win elections once their terms expire, and who could help restore the Governor’s reputation with the Republican right.

The top five contenders in alphabetical order are:

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  • Probate Judge Wesley Allen
  • State Senator Dick Brewbaker
  • US Congressman Bradley Byrne
  • State Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh
  • Alabama Associate Supreme Court Justice Glen Murdock

Each of these individuals is seemingly a safe pick for Bentley. While some are more conservative than others, to a layman, they are reliable public officials with little or no political baggage.

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Sources with close ties to the administration believe Byrne may have the inside track, given his performance as Congressman from District 1, and Bentley’s propensity to appoint former rivals to positions of importance.

Hot on Byrne’s heels is Brewbaker, whose record as a solid conservative could do more to boost Bentley’s standing among the State’s Republican base than any other in contention. Brewbaker’s age, as well as personal financial means, would also afford him a long tenure in the Senate, which would give him time to gain rank, restoring power lost with Session’s resignation.

Marsh is reportedly lobbying hard for the position, and his personal fortune would ease his transition to DC, as would his connections within the business wing of the GOP.

Justice Murdock’s relationship with the Governor goes back to Bentley’s run for the State Senate in 1998, where Murdock served as his attorney in the recount which saw Bentley lose by approximately 27 votes. Murdock, by most accounts, serves as a conservative jurist.

Current Pike County Probate Judge Allen is the dark horse with low name I.D., but he is a favorite of Bentley’s and the son of State Senator Gerald Allen.

These names may make for fun and interesting water cooler conversation, but in the unpredictable world of Governor Bentley, this list may have been scrambled before this post hits the internet.

 

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