Jeff Sessions Considers Run for His Old Alabama Senate Seat

Jeff Sessions, the former attorney general whom President Trump came to loathe for his recusal from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, is considering running for his former Senate seat from Alabama, people familiar with his thinking said.

Mr. Sessions, who served in the Senate for 20 years before becoming attorney general and creating the opening that allowed Senator Doug Jones, a Democrat, to win the seat, would seem to be a formidable general election contender in the deeply red state. But in today’s Republican Party, where loyalty to Mr. Trump often counts more than any record of public service or commitment to conservative causes, Mr. Sessions could have a hard time convincing some voters in the primary — especially if the president does not support him.

The former attorney general is weighing the race very seriously, and could make a decision within days, according to two people who have spoken to him about the subject. He is said to be pained at the possibility that his final act in public life could be his contentious 21-month tenure at the Justice Department, which ended in his ouster last November. He has until 5 p.m. on Nov. 8 to enter the race.

Mr. Sessions did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Mr. Trump, who won Alabama by 28 percentage points, complicates a race that might appear straightforward. Mr. Jones is often considered the most vulnerable Senate incumbent, and Mr. Sessions has been elected to statewide office five times, including four as senator.

But any move by Mr. Sessions could infuriate Mr. Trump, who has called Mr. Sessions his “biggest mistake” in appointees.

Mr. Trump blamed Mr. Sessions not only for what advisers called the “original sin” of recusing himself from the Russia investigation, but also for almost everything that followed. That included the appointment of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, whose investigation of possible conspiracy between Russian officials and the Trump campaign and possible obstruction of justice by the president was a cloud over Mr. Trump’s first two years in office.

Although Mr. Jones became the first Democrat from Alabama elected to the Senate in a generation during a 2017 special election, it was under unusual circumstances. His Republican opponent, Roy S. Moore, was accused of multiple instances of fondling teenage girls.

Now, Mr. Jones’s perceived vulnerability has already helped attract a handful of Republican challengers, including Mr. Moore. And Mr. Moore’s following in the state combined with the president’s antipathy toward Mr. Sessions could make Mr. Moore a more formidable primary candidate.

One person familiar with Mr. Trump’s thinking said it might be possible for Mr. Sessions to heal his relationship with the president to the point where he could win his backing, but he said such a move would most likely need to include a mea culpa for the recusal.

Still, the person said, Mr. Trump might see the benefit in having Mr. Sessions as the party’s nominee, particularly as other Senate Republicans around the country are seeing their numbers trail Mr. Trump’s in their home states.

Senator Richard C. Shelby, Republican of Alabama, has at times in the past several months tried to intervene on Mr. Sessions’s behalf with Mr. Trump, suggesting that the former attorney general was not as worthy of scorn as the president believed.

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