Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange announced Tuesday his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat in Alabama.
The position will be vacated if Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions is confirmed as the next U.S. Attorney General. Sen. Sessions was nominated for the position by President-elect Donald Trump after his presidential win in November.
Strange’s campaign sent the following statement to News Five:
Following speculation about my intentions and in response to numerous media inquiries, today I am officially announcing my intention to seek the Senate seat left open by Jeff Sessions’ nomination to be our nation’s next attorney general. In keeping with those intentions, last week I filed the appropriate paperwork with federal election authorities. The voters will make the ultimate decision about who will represent them, and I look forward to making my case to the people of Alabama in the months to come as to why they can trust me to keep protecting and fighting for our conservative values.
But today, we must focus all our efforts on confirming Jeff Sessions. Unfortunately, it is clear that many of the same colleagues who have served with Senator Sessions intend to oppose his nomination and will most likely throw out any number of outlandish, false, and scurrilous objections to his confirmation on the basis of pure politics.
Senator Sessions is an honorable man who is eminently qualified to fill the shoes of other constitutional conservatives who have gone before him. The Justice Department and the nation desperately need him to restore integrity to the Department and to put the rule of law ahead of politics as the Department’s mission. My focus, regardless of my future, over the coming weeks will be to rally support for and vigorously defend my friend and fellow Alabamian for the sake of the United States, our system of justice, and for conservative, constitutional application of federal law. There will be a time to discuss my campaign after he is confirmed.”
If Sen. Sessions is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Gov. Robert Bentley will appoint the person to fill the interim Senate seat until a statewide election can be held. However, it is unknown when an election will be held.
According to a report from the Associated Press, state law says if the vacancy occurs more than four months before a general election, the governor of Alabama shall “forthwith order an election” for the unexpired term without spelling out a timeframe. That would indicate the governor must call a special election since the next general election is in 2018. A spokeswoman for the governor said his legal office is researching when the election would need to be held. Sessions was up for re-election in 2020, so whoever gets the post would have to run again in 2020.
News Five will continue to follow this story and update when more information is available.