Jeff Sessions, President Donald Trump’s former attorney general, will announce on Thursday that he will enter the race to reclaim his old seat in the United States Senate, the New York Times reports. Sessions will officially announce his decision to run today.
As the left-wing newspaper points out, Sessions could be in for the fight of his life. After all, President Trump has taken aim at him on many different occasions. He said that Sessions was “scared stuff,” called his leadership style “a total joke,” and ultimately forced him to resign. Note: that criticism was expressed publicly and privately.
Additionally, Trump blames Sessions for the entire Russia collusion saga, and privately denounced Sessions again last weekend, when he called his former AG a “jerk.” According to people in the know, the New York Times states, Trump already made clear that he won’t support Sessions no matter what.
Now, what’s going to be interesting is that Sessions and Trump both can count on quite some support in Alabama. The state voted for Trump with 62 percent in 2016. The last time Sessions ran for the Senate, he didn’t face an opponent. That’s how strong his position was: it was clear from the get-go that he’d win, no matter who the Democrats put up against him. In 2008 he did have an opponent… and he still won 63 percent of the votes.
In other words, if you look at the election results, there is no reason to believe that Trump is necessarily more popular in Alabama than Sessions. Of course, Trump is the Republican president and will have an advantage over Sessions for that very reason, but still: there’s no reason for Sessions to believe that he has no shot whatsoever. No, not even if Trump vilifies him publicly, which the New York Times says he does indeed plans on doing.
And that would be a shame. We seem to have almost forgotten it because of Sessions’ fights with Trump once he became attorney general, but during his long tenure in the Senate, Sessions was one of its most reliably conservative members. FreedomWorks gives him a lifetime score of 84 percent. That is top-notch. There is little reason to believe that Trump himself, were he in Congress, would even come close to it.
If Trump is smart, he’ll let his allies reach out to Sessions in order to tell him that the president will support him… if he, in turn, pledges to become Trump’s most passionate supporter in the Senate. After all, Republicans care barely afford not to take back the Alabama seat in the Senate next year if they want to keep their 53-47 majority.