Alabama GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions appears poised to be confirmed later this week as U.S. attorney general, but filling his Senate seat looks less certain, with the state’s governor reportedly still deciding among six potential replacements.
Among those considered most likely to replace the four-term senator is state Attorney General Luther Strange, who back in December 2016 said he would seek the open seat.
Republican Gov. Robert Bentley will appoint an interim replacement until there's an election either next year or in 2018 to fill the rest of Session’s term.
"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," Strange said.
Strange, who considered a run for governor before Trump tapped Sessions as his nominee for attorney general, has already filed the necessary paperwork with federal election officials.
The Tennessee Valley newspaper the Decatur Daily reports Bentley has narrowed his search to six. The other five are state Sen. Del Marsh; state Reps. Robert Aderholt, Perry Hooper Jr. and Connie Rowe and Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs Director Jim Bayard, according to the newspaper.
Bentley replacing Sessions has reportedly raised some concern, considering Bentley late last year asked the state House Judiciary Committee to postpone its investigation into Bentley’s relationship with a former female aide.
Skeptics think Strange could squash the entire investigation in return for the appointment, or that Bentley could appoint an attorney general to replace Bentley who would not pursue the issue.
Nevertheless, the GOP-Congress will almost certainly wait to confirm Sessions until after the Senate votes on Betsy DeVos becoming education secretary because it will need Sessions’ vote in what has become a tough effort to get 51 “yes” votes to confirm DeVos.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.