Rumors that former U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions may enter the race to retake his old Senate seat is sending panic through the political landscape as politicos of all stripes scramble to understand what happens next.
Those close to Sessions said he has not made a final decision, but he is leaning strongly toward running.
Recent internal polling shows a path to victory for Alabama’s former junior senator, who left the political stage under siege from President Donald Trump.
Perhaps the most significant factor is a change of heart by Sessions’ wife, Mary, who insiders say is now behind him moving to reclaim his old Senate spot.
Sessions left his Senate position after nearly two decades to serve as Trump’s attorney general. After Sessions recused himself following the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump became increasingly and publicly hostile toward Sessions.
On Monday, Sessions’ allies floated a trial balloon at Politico, which reported, “Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is strongly considering jumping into the race for his old Senate seat in Alabama.”
There was no immediate reaction from Trump or his allies on speculation that Sessions might run.
Statewide, there is a concern that a presidential tweetstorm could turn the currently quiet Senate race into the type of national embarrassment that saw Democrat Doug Jones defeat Republican Roy Moore in the 2017 special election.
Rep. Bradley Byrne, who is seeking the Republican Senate nomination, told Politico on Tuesday that he would remain in the race even if Sessions decides to enter the contest.
Former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville told Fox Business host Stuart Varney, “Jeff Sessions had a chance to stand and defend the president, and he failed.”
While President Trump chastised Sessions for his recusal, it was backed by a department of justice opinion as well as the former senator’s colleagues.
Reportedly, Sessions spoke with Tuberville and Byrne last week to inform them he might enter the race.
Sessions reportedly is meeting with support staff, which could mean an announcement is imminent.
Republican qualifying ends Oct. 8.