Gov. Robert Bentley (R-AL) announced Thursday he had selected Alabama state Attorney General Luther Strange to replace Jeff Sessions, who was confirmed as U.S. Attorney General a day earlier, in the United States Senate.
“This is truly a remarkable time in our state’s history,” Bentley said in a press statement. “Alabama has surely been well represented by Senator Sessions, and I am confident Senator Strange will serve as a fine representative for our people. His leadership on a national level, service as a statewide elected official and long record of taking on tough federal issues are the very qualities that will make him a strong conservative Senator for Alabama.”
Strange’s appointment isn’t without some controversy.
Bentley is embroiled in a scandal over what he admitted to being an “inappropriate” relationship with former top aide Rebekah Caldwell Mason. That relationship has led to multiple investigations, including one by the Alabama House Judiciary Committee and another by Strange’s state attorney general’s office.
Last November, Strange asked the House Judiciary Committee to call off a query into impeachment against Bentley on the grounds his office was conducting a similar investigation.
His appointment by Bentley has raised questions about that possible conflict of interest.
Strange, nicknamed “Big Luther” because of his height, was elected attorney general of Alabama in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.
In 2006, he ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor. After defeating George Wallace, Jr., son of infamous former Alabama Gov. George Wallace for the party’s nomination, he lost to Jim Folsom, Jr., son of another former Alabama governor, Jim Folsom.
He was a scholarship basketball player and a graduate of New Orleans, LA’s Tulane University, where he also earned his law degree. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Strange was a Washington, D.C. lobbyist before he founded his own law firm.
In a statement, Sen. Richard Alabama (R-AL), Alabama’s senior U.S. Senator, spoke approvingly of the selection of Strange to fill the seat vacated by Sessions.
“The opportunity to serve the people of Alabama is a tremendous honor and privilege, and I am pleased that Governor Bentley took this appointment very seriously. Jeff Sessions leaves behind big shoes to fill in the Senate. I am confident that Luther will step into this position seamlessly.
“Luther Strange is known for his unwavering commitment to the Constitution and the rule of law, which will continue to be critical in this new role. I have always known Luther to have the best interest of the state of Alabama in the forefront of his mind, and I look forward to partnering with him to fight for conservative principles in the Senate.”
Before having been selected by Bentley, Strange announced last December he would be running for that U.S. Senate seat in a 2018 election after Sessions was named by then-President-elect Donald Trump as his attorney general.
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