Former US attorney general Jeff Sessions, who was forced out by US President Donald Trump after less than two years in office, on Thursday announced his bid to reclaim his US Senate seat.
Sessions, 72, represented the conservative southern state in the Senate from 1997 to 2017, when he resigned to become Trump’s attorney general.
However, his relations with Trump quickly soured after Sessions recused himself from a probe into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
Trump repeatedly insulted Sessions on Twitter until he finally resigned as attorney general in November last year.
“When I left President Trump’s Cabinet, did I write a tell-all book? No. Did I go on CNN and attack the president? No,” Sessions said in a statement announcing his candidacy.
“When President Trump took on Washington, only one senator out of 100 had the courage to stand with him: me. I was the first to support President Trump. I was his strongest advocate. I still am,” the veteran Republican added.
“Our freedoms have never been under attack like they are today. We have major party candidates for president campaigning on socialism, confiscating firearms and closing down churches they disagree with,” Sessions said.
“I’ve battled these forces my entire life and I’m not about to surrender now,” he added.
The US Republican primary is to be held in March next year to decide who will be the party standard-bearer in November next year. Several other candidates have already declared their intentions to seek the nomination.
Sessions remains popular in Alabama. He last ran for the Senate seat in 2014, when he was unopposed and won 97 percent of the vote.
The seat is currently held by Democrat Doug Jones, who defeated an unpopular Republican candidate in a special election in December 2017.
Alabama is one of the Senate seats the Republican Party is hoping to reclaim as it seeks to hold on to its slim 53-47 majority in the chamber.
Republicans are already facing an uphill climb. They are forced to defend 23 seats while just 12 Democratic seats are at stake.
Sessions’ entry into the race would put Trump in a position of having to endorse him or some other Republican.
Trump remains enormously popular in Alabama, where he won 62 percent of the vote in 2016.
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