Thursday, November 8, 2018

Jeff Sessions out as Attorney General, mulling a return to his Senate Seat? Well…

imageHe’s leaning against returning to the Senate even though he’d be a strong candidate for his old seat, now held by Democrat Doug Jones.

Everyone saw Sessions’ exit from the Department of Justice as a foregone conclusion. His fumbling of questions regarding his contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak led to him recusing himself from oversight of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian influence during the 2016 campaign. This immediately angered President Donald Trump and has led to near constant discord between Trump and the first sitting Senator to endorse his Presidential campaign.

Sessions is 71 and he’s spent the better part of four decades in federal service. People he’s spoken to tell IBCR that a decision hasn’t been made whether to start a moderately “uphill comeback” or just enjoy retirement. He is personally irritated by the the rancor with the White House but embraced his role in the Senate. He particularly relished his time and work on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Meanwhile, current Senator Doug Jones is widely seen as the weakest of the Democrat incumbents seeking reelection in 2020, and this has attracted a great deal of interest from a very deep candidate field. The possibles include Alabama political heavyweights like former Alabama Attorney Luther Strange and Representatives Bradley Byrne and Martha Roby. Sessions would almost certainly face formidable primary opposition. Also, Donald Trump is still very popular in the state and his criticism of Sessions’ handling of the Russia has taken its toll.

The political terrain in Alabama is simple and flat: Anyone not named Roy Moore will destroy Doug Jones in the 2020 General Election.  The primary campaign  is where this election will be decided.  Sessions must decide if he wants to get up close and personal with candidates that he knows and personally likes, and who began preparing to unseat Jones last January.

He hasn’t yet.

Perhaps the most telling indication of Sessions’ current thinking is this statement from his Senate colleague, Richard Shelby:

“Thank you to my good friend, Jeff Sessions, for over 40 years of noble service to Alabama and our country. Jeff was a respected colleague of mine in the Senate for two decades and represented our nation with honor as the U.S. Attorney General. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Stay tuned, though.

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