Alabama attorney general named to Jeff Sessions’ Senate seat

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By Colleen Jenkins

<span class="articleLocation”>Alabama’s state attorney general will fill the
U.S. Senate seat vacated by Republican Jeff Sessions after his
confirmation as attorney general of the United States, Governor
Robert Bentley said on Thursday.

Luther Strange, also a Republican, will hold the Senate seat
until a special election in 2018, the governor’s office said in
a statement.

Sessions, 70, served two decades as a senator for Alabama
before being confirmed on Wednesday as President Donald Trump’s
attorney general. A Senate divided by concerns over his record
on civil rights voted 52-47, largely along party lines.

Strange, a 63-year-old former basketball player at Tulane
University nicknamed “Big Luther” for his size, had announced
his plans to run for the seat after Trump nominated Sessions.

“I pledge to the people of Alabama to continue the same
level of leadership as Jeff Sessions in consistently fighting to
protect and advance the conservative values we all care about,”
Strange said in a statement following his appointment.

Alabama voters first elected Strange as attorney general in
2010. Bentley on Thursday highlighted Strange’s role in
negotiating the landmark settlement agreement with BP for the
2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to local media, Alabama lawmakers said Strange
asked them last year to suspend their impeachment investigation
of Bentley over allegations he had an affair with a former
political adviser and used state resources to pursue it.

The Republican governor has denied the affair and any
wrongdoing. Lawmakers said Strange was conducting a related
probe, but the attorney general’s office has not said whether it
was investigating the governor, according to the Montgomery
Advertiser newspaper.

A spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office did not have
an immediate comment on the reports.

The governor’s office said Bentley conducted more than 20
hours of interviews with candidates before tapping Strange for
the Senate seat.

Bentley said Strange would be sworn in on Thursday.

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