A Congressman from Alabama became Wednesday the first prominent Republican to embark on the run for Democratic Senator Doug Jones, one of the most vulnerable candidates for reelection in 2020.
The US Representative, Bradley Byrne, has announced his intention to run for the seat of former US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, promising to be a "senator" who will fight with the President Trump ".
"We have appointed the right-hand curator to organize this race," Byrne said in a phone interview with Fox News Wednesday night after his announcement to his supporters at Mobile. "Someone who can appeal to the broader coalition of our Republican coalition in Alabama, who can race against incumbent Democrat Doug Jones, who now has a record."
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In 2017, Jones caused a big surprise in Alabama by defeating Republican Roy Moore in a special election to fill the vacant seat of Sessions. Moore, a former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, was charged during his campaign with pursuing romantic relationships with teenage girls in his 30s – charges Moore has repeatedly denied.
But the charges drove Jones to victory, making him the first Democrat to be elected to the Senate by the deeply conservative regime in 25 years.
"I think 2017 was just a totally unique situation," Byrne said. "It was very strange from beginning to end. I just do not see it happening again. President Trump will be at the top of the ticket. I do not see people voting for President Trump and then voting for a Democratic senator. "
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Jones's is a prime target for Republicans in a state that Trump won 62% of the votes in Alabama in 2016.
"Doug Jones is for gun control," Byrne said. "Doug Jones is for abortion. Doug Jones is against the wall. Doug Jones was against Judge Kavanaugh. Doug Jones is against Donald Trump. I would say that each of them is disqualifying. "
Asked to evaluate Trump's first term, Byrne spoke of the president's record on judges, tax reform, the economy and border security and said, "I am very happy. I think he was an excellent president. I am happy to be one of the most fervent supporters of Congress. "
Byrne, a former state legislator and chancellor of Alabama's two-year college system, was first elected to Congress in 2013. He ran unsuccessfully for the governorship of Alabama in 2010. .
Jones' campaign on Wednesday issued a statement calling Mr Byrne a "career politician".
"It does not matter whether Senator Jones has 1 or 100 opponents, his goal is to protect the citizens of Alabama, that it is to protect the jobs of the car and the farmers. against dangerous tariffs or to build health care infrastructure in rural communities of Alabama, "says the Democrat in his campaign even said.
The GOP primary could attract a large number of players, along with others, such as Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, who are considering getting into the race.
Sessions, who was forced to leave the Justice Ministry last year after exasperating the president for his disqualification as a result of the investigation on Russia, did not rule out the possibility of to run for his old seat. But the former Attorney General has not made any noticeable movement indicating that he is preparing for a race.
Associated Press contributed to this report.