By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, February 9, 2017, the reaction to Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s (R) appointment of Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange to fill Alabama’s vacant US Senate seat has been mostly positive by Alabama’s leaders. Strange is taking the seat of newly confirmed US Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said in a statement, “The Alabama Republican Party looks forward to working with our State’s new incoming United States Senator, Luther Strange. General Strange has done a tremendous job serving Alabama as our Attorney General. Strange has a strong record of standing on conservative principles as well as enforcing the laws of our State. We have no doubt he will continue his service to Alabama and our nation with the highest integrity.”
Lathan continued, “It is an exciting time for our country as we have a strong Republican Congress that will work with our new president to Make America Great Again. General Strange will be in good company with Senator Shelby as they represent our State.”
US Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) released his statement praising the appointment: “The opportunity to serve the people of Alabama is a tremendous honor and privilege, and I am pleased that Governor Bentley took this appointment very seriously. Jeff Sessions leaves behind big shoes to fill in the Senate. I am confident that Luther will step in to this position seamlessly.”
Sen. Shelby said, “Luther Strange is known for his unwavering commitment to the Constitution and the rule of law, which will continue to be critical in this new role. I have always known Luther to have the best interest of the state of Alabama in the forefront of his mind, and I look forward to partnering with him to fight for conservative principles in the Senate.”
Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) said, “I know Luther Strange quite well, having gotten to know him both during campaigns and during his service as Alabama’s Attorney General. I look forward to working with Luther in the US Senate and will do everything I can to help him be the best senator he can possibly be, both because he is my friend and because that is exactly what Alabama and America need at this critical junction in our history.”
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) said: “I want to congratulate Luther Strange on his appointment to the United States Senate. I look forward to working with him to advance policies and legislation important to families and small businesses in Southwest Alabama. Alabama has always had a strong and united Congressional delegation, and I look forward to working with Luther to keep that tradition alive.”
US Representative Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) congratulated Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange upon his appointment to replace US Attorney General Sessions in the Senate. Rep. Roby said, “I offer my sincere congratulations to Attorney General Strange on his appointment to the Senate. Alabama’s congressional delegation has a long history of working together to promote our State’s interests from supporting our significant military footprint to looking out for Alabama farmers. I welcome Luther to the delegation, and I look forward to working with him.”
But not everyone was thrilled with the appointment.
Former State Representative Joe Hubbard (D-Montgomery) questioned the optics of the Alabama Attorney General who was investigating Gov. Bentley being appointed out of the Attorney General’s office by the very Governor he was investigating. Hubbard said on Twitter, “For all those who are somehow shocked that our Governor would trade a US Senate seat for a #getoutofjailfreecard and that our Attorney General could be bought at that price, you haven’t been paying attention these last few years, have you?”
Former Rep. Hubbard unsuccessfully challenged Strange in the 2014 race for Alabama Attorney General. No Democrat has won a statewide office in Alabama since 2008.
Luther Strange was a basketball player at Tulane. He had a long and fruitful career as an attorney and lobbyist in Washington, DC before returning to Alabama to run for Lieutenant Governor. He was narrowly defeated for that office by former Governor Jim Folsom Jr. (D). In 2010 Strange challenged and defeated then incumbent Attorney General Troy King in the Republican Primary and then went on to win the 2010 General Election.
Gov. Bentley will now have to appoint a new Alabama Attorney General.
Gov. Bentley said that he would not call a Special Election in 2017.