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Jeff Sessions announces Senate run

Jeff Sessions

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Thursday he will run for the Republican nomination for the Senate seat he held for over 20 years, but which is currently held by Doug Jones.

Sessions said, “I’ve battled liberals my whole life. Let’s Go!”

Sessions at his height was wildly popular, so much so that in 2014 there could not be found anyone, Republican or Democrat, who would run against him. Sessions’ fourth term was a near universal acceptance that his election was inevitable. This election will be much different and will certainly be the toughest contest Sessions has faced since his original election in 1996.

“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,” Sessions said. “And I’ll tell you why: 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.”

Sessions appeared on stage with candidate Donald J. Trump at a nationally televised event in Mobile in front of a crowd of 50,000 people in the summer of 2015 and donned a Make America Great Again hat, when most of the political establishment thought that Jeb Bush or Ted Cruz would be the GOP nominee. Sessions was the first Senator to endorse Trump and campaigned tirelessly for the President. That friendship was shattered when Sessions refused to do the President’s bidding as Attorney General and recused himself in the early days of the Russia investigation. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein then appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as Special Counsel. The lengthy investigation probed went well beyond the allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians infuriating the President who has called Sessions his biggest mistake as President. A month ago, Trump called Sessions, “An embarrassment to the great state of Alabama”

“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,” Sessions said. “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.”

The shattered relationship between Sessions and the President was not lost on Doug Jones, who said Thursday: “Since Jeff is not running against me at this point, it would seem that folks need to be focused on the reactions of his opponents in the Republican primary and perhaps President Trump’s tweets about him over the last couple of years.”

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Sessions faces seven other Republicans in the battle for the GOP nomination.

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) said that Sessions would be making a mistake by getting in the race.

Former Auburn football Coach Tommy Tuberville blasted Sessions.

“President Trump said it best when he called Jeff Sessions “a disaster” as Attorney General and an “embarrassment to Alabama,” Tuberville said on social media. “We can’t make the mistake of recycling a DC insider who let the President down. Our country needs a strong outsider who knows the people of Alabama and who will put America first. The establishment politicians have failed us. It’s time we elect someone with common-sense solutions and real conservative values. I’m not looking for a career, I’m running for the Senate to work alongside President Trump to drain the swamp!”

Secretary of State John H. Merrill told 99.5 FM radio hosts Matt Murphy and Aundrea Lindenberg that he had been with Sessions twice in the last month and had great conversations but that Sessions never did say anything to him about getting in the race.

Former Chief justice Roy Moore said that Jeff Sessions is my friend; but I am in this race no matter who qualifies.

Sessions will formally qualify with the Alabama Republican Party today. Ruth Page Nelson, who recently ran for Mayor of Dothan, qualified on Thursday joining a crowded Republican field that also includes: State Representative Arnold Mooney and businessman Stanley Adair.

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Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III was born in Wilcox County. He attended Huntingdon College, Sessions was a GOP organizer from his college days. He served as U.S. Attorney under President Ronald W. Reagan. Sessions was appointed a federal judge by Reagan; but his confirmation was blocked by liberals. Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) was the key moderate who helped block Sessions. The two would later serve in the Senate together for years. Sessions was Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party. He was elected Alabama Attorney General and then U.S. Senator. Sessions defeated State Senator Roger Bedford (D-Russellville) for the Senate seat in 1996.

Sessions returned to the hot button social issues that he has emphasized his whole career.

“Our freedoms have never been under attack like they are today,” Sessions said. “We have major party candidates for President campaigning on socialism, confiscating firearms, and closing down churches they disagree with. I’ve battled these forces my entire life, and I’m not about to surrender now. Let’s go!”

The Republican primary will be on March 3.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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