Months before the March primaries, Alabama’s U.S. Senate race just keeps getting more interesting. In fact, many political observers feel that it could be one of the most hotly contested races in the nation.
The cast of major GOP candidates (those who have statewide name identification and/or hold federal office) is impressive: former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville threw his hat in the ring a while back, as did former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne and Secretary of State John Merrill.
And now Jeff Sessions, who held the job before he stepped down to become U.S. attorney general under President Donald Trump, has announced he will run.
Those are only the Republican candidates, each of whom hopes to challenge the Democratic incumbent, U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, in the general election next November.
I always suspected that Sessions would ultimately jump into the fray to get his old job back. After all, U.S. Senator is a pretty good job. It’s not called the “world’s most exclusive club” without reason.
It will be interesting to watch how Sessions treats the Trump issue. Trump tweeted some pretty bad things about his then-attorney general before Sessions finally got fed up and left.
Oddly enough, in my opinion, Sessions did nothing wrong and, in fact, took the moral high ground in recusing himself on issues pertaining to the Russia investigation, since he had been involved in Trump’s campaign.
Candidates in the Senate race will surely be trying to “out-Trump” the others, claiming to be the one who can help Trump get his policies through.
Sessions has to be disappointed by his treatment by the president, but I suspect Sessions will avoid any statements about Trump the person, while pointing out that he implemented and fully supports Trump’s policies.
My best guess is that ultimately Sessions will prevail in the primary, although Moore, Tuberville and Byrne will run strong races, if they all stay in the race.
And Sessions will be the general election favorite against Jones in this dark red state.
Retired Auburn Attorney Don Eddins is publisher of The Auburn Villager newspaper and the online publication, auburnvillager.com. Before going into law, he was state Capitol reporter for The Huntsville Times and state editor for The Columbus Ledger. In college, he was sports editor of The Auburn Plainsman. Email him your comments about the newspaper to firstname.lastname@example.org.