Gov. Bentley releases dates for U.S. Senate special election
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The next election for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. In a Tuesday proclamation, Gov. Robert Bentley (R-Ala.) also announced that the primary will take place on Tuesday, June 5, 2018, and a runoff will take place on July 17, 2018 if necessary.
“After consultation and lengthy discussions with the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office, a large number of factors were considered in setting the date for this Special Election. Those factors included compliance with federal and state statutes and cases, saving unnecessary expense on a costly separate statewide special election, and setting a time that is expected to increase voter participation,” Gov. Bentley told the Alabama News Network. “For these reasons, the 2018 General Election is the most reasonable time to hold the Special Election to fill the unexpired term of Senator Sessions.”
According to the proclamation, the last day for candidates to qualify with their respective parties is Friday, February 9, 2018, at 5:00 p.m. Parties must certify their candidates with the Secretary of State’s office by 5:00 pm on Thursday, March 15, 2018.
After Sessions officially resigned from his post to become Trump’s Attorney General, Bentley quickly named State Attorney General Luther Strange (R-Ala.) to the seat. Strange will serve at least until January of 2019, unless he is reelected in the special election.
Bentley’s appointment of Strange has drawn criticism for the appearance of impropriety. As Alabama’s Attorney General, Strange investigated Bentley’s various scandals. Now in the U.S. Senate, Strange is no longer a part of the investigation, and the governor named his replacement, Steve Marshall.
Marshall has vowed to recuse himself should a direct investigation of the governor arise. “I also understand the circumstances of this appointment and as such that the people could believe that I could not be fair,” Marshall said. “And if that’s the case, then it’s my obligation to recuse, and I will.”