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Sessions, Byrne woo voters at Marshall County Republican Party event

GUNTERSVILLE — Republican voters in Marshall County had a rare opportunity to compare two of the front-runners for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination side by side on Tuesday.

During a meeting of the Marshall County Republican Party at Wintzell’s Oyster Bar on the shores of the Tennessee River just to the south of downtown Guntersville, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) made their campaign pitches to a standing-room-only crowd.

Byrne led off his portion of the event with a moment of silence for U.S. servicemen and women in the wake of the events unfolding in Iraq. After that, he kicked it into a higher gear proclaiming to be the fighter Alabam needs in the U.S. Senate.

“Let me tell you something: The fight is not going to end,” Byrne said. “It’s going to go on and on and on. They want to take away your right and my right to freely exercise our religion. They don’t want us to be able to walk out of church on a Sunday and spend the rest of the week doing the stuff we believe that’s part of our faith system. They want to tell us ‘you can’t do that in America anymore,’ even though that’s been a part of your faith and the faith of your church for thousands of years. They want to take that away from us. We have got to stand up and fight for that. We have got to fight to make sure your health care costs don’t continue to go up to these extraordinary rates. While we’re doing all of these crazy things in Washington on impeachment, we’re not dealing with that. And we have got to do more to protect the security of this country.”

Sessions followed Byrne, an order established alphabetically, according to a Marshall County Republican Party official. Sessions, who served as Alabama’s junior U.S. Senator for two decades before his time in the Trump administration vowed to represent the values of Alabama and pointed to his track record in both the U.S. Senate and as U.S. Attorney General as proof.

“I would just say to you, I come out of the soil of this state,” Sessions said. “I think I understand the values of this state. I try to reflect them in Washington. It’s my absolute belief that our values are the values needed today in that capital city, as forsaken as it is. I appreciate the opportunity to serve you.”

Sessions also addressed his recusal from the investigation into allegations that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election. He insisted he was following the Department of Justice regulations. He was interrupted by one of the attendees who questioned how President Donald Trump was made aware of the recusal. However, Sessions insisted he was required to follow the rules, noting if the U.S. Attorney General did not follow the rules, there could be no expectation for others to follow the rules.

Sessions and Byrne are two of the front-runners of a field that also includes former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs). Republican voters will have the opportunity to select their preference for the party’s nominee in the March 3 GOP primary.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.