A view of the state capitol on March 6, 2015 in Montgomery, Ala.
Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty

How Senator Strange made it from Alabama to Capitol Hill

Updated
With the Senate voting late yesterday to confirm Jeff Sessions as the next U.S. Attorney General, the Alabama Republican leaves a rare vacancy in his 100-member chamber. In a narrowly divided Senate, even one seat can make a difference.

And with that in mind, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) wasted little time in announcing Sessions’ successor, appointing state Attorney General Luther Strange (R) to fill the vacancy for the remainder of Sessions’ term. Strange, who had already announced plans to run the Senate seat in 2018, will now run as an incumbent.

Perhaps the most interesting part, however, is considering the possible motivation behind the governor’s decision. The Alabama Media Group reported this morning:
The appointment comes four months after Strange asked the Alabama House Judiciary Committee to suspend an investigation into impeachment articles against Bentley because his office was conducting a related investigation.

“I respectfully request that the Committee cease active interviews and investigation until I am able to report to you that the necessary related work of my office has been completed,” Strange wrote in a Nov. 3 letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Mike Jones, who agreed to suspend the proceedings.
It creates an amazing political dynamic: Gov. Bentley is under investigation for an unseemly scandal, in which he’s accused of having an extramarital affair with an aide and using state resources to help cover it up. The state attorney general, in his letter to state lawmakers, suggested his office’s investigation is ongoing.

Bentley certainly couldn’t make the investigation go away by firing Strange, but the governor has now done the next best thing: he’s giving Strange a promotion and sending him out of town.

Strange will be replaced in the state AG’s office, at least for now, by whomever Bentley chooses for the post.

As for what we should expect from the nation’s newest U.S. senator, NBC News’ report noted, “A lawyer and onetime Washington lobbyist, Strange is a staunch Republican.”

When it comes to his voting record, I’d expect Strange to be a much taller version of Jeff Sessions. (Strange is a former basketball player who stands 6’9”.)


Alabama

How Senator Strange made it from Alabama to Capitol Hill

Updated