hen-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at the Heritage Foundation’s Legal Strategy Forum, October 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer | Getty Images
In a statement which was posted on his campaign website, Sessions praised Trump despite the president saying that nominating him as attorney general had been the “biggest mistake” of his presidency.
“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,” Sessions said in his statement. “I was his strongest advocate. I still am. We must make America great again.”
Sessions hopes to challenge Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat who won the 2017 special election to finish Sessions’ term when he left to become attorney general. He will have to fight his way through a jammed primary filled with GOP candidates who have already tried to paint him as disloyal to Trump in a state where the president is overwhelmingly popular.
Even so, the 2017 race showed Trump’s support can only go so far in Alabama. The president endorsed Sen. Luther Strange, the Republican chosen to temporarily fill Sessions’ seat, only to see him lose the the GOP nomination to former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. He eventually lost to Jones amid accusations that he sexually abused teenagers decades ago while he was in his 30s.
Republicans covet the Alabama Senate seat, the GOP’s best chance to flip a Democratic-held state in 2020. Republicans aim to hold their 53-47 majority in the chamber as they defend 23 seats next year.