Sessions, who represented Alabama in the US Senate from 1997 until he became President Donald Trump’s first attorney general in 2017, is giving the race a look, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN on Monday. He would need to make a decision by November 8.
But Sessions has not discussed the race with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, nor has McConnell encouraged Sessions to run, according to one GOP source familiar with McConnell’s thinking. McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, believes “Republicans are very well positioned to retake the seat” as it is, the source added.
“Sen. Sessions has made himself vulnerable with some of the things that have happened” with the President, Merrill said. “That would be something people who support Sen. Sessions would have to give consideration to.”
“If the President were to come out publicly against Sen. Sessions,” Merrill added, “I think it would be very difficult for Sen. Sessions to overcome that.”
Merrill would not say whether he would end his Senate bid if Sessions were to run. But, Merrill said, “I can tell you I have always been a fan of Sen. Sessions and always been a strong supporter.”
Senate Majority Whip John Thune said Tuesday he thinks Trump and Sessions would “look past some of their differences” if it meant Sessions could win back his Senate seat and help Republicans maintain control of the Senate.
“I think in the end it’s going to be dependent on winning that seat, and I think the President will be very interested in having a Republican majority in the Senate, and if Sen. Sessions looks like the person that can move that seat into our column, then I’m guessing they will probably look past some of their differences,” Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Thune, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, praised Sessions as “someone who I think can win in Alabama.”
“He obviously has a lot of experience and seniority he brings to the campaign, and then if he’s successful can add to the Senate,” Thune said.
CNN’s Ted Barrett and Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.