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Sessions endorsed by eight Alabama sheriffs

MONTGOMERY — Sheriffs of eight Alabama counties and Jeff Sessions appeared jointly at a press conference in downtown Montgomery, Alabama, on Monday. The sheriffs announced their support of Sessions’ candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL).

The announcement coincided with the Winter Conference of the Alabama Sheriffs Association. Sessions, who as U.S. Attorney General was America’s top law enforcement official, also received the support of several out-of-state police associations.

Two of the sheriffs who announced their support of Sessions on Monday were Kevin Turner of Madison County and John Samaniego of Shelby County, who together represent and protect over 574,000 Alabamians.

Sheriffs, who are often respected and widely known among their constituencies, are highly sought after endorsements in Republican primaries. According to Pew Research, 86% of Republican voters view officers of the law “warmly.”

After news broke of the Sessions endorsements, Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope), one of Sessions’ competitors for the Republican nomination in the Senate race, quickly tweeted about the support he has received from law enforcement across the state. Byrne has been endorsed by five sheriffs that represent Mobile, Baldwin, Escambia, Lauderdale and Calhoun counties.

“Law enforcement leaders from across the state are lining up to support Bradley Byrne because they know he has their back. Bradley has a track record of supporting additional funding and resources for Alabama police officers and first responders,” Byrne’s campaign manager Seth Morrow said in a statement to the media.

Sessions today was endorsed by:

Kevin Turner of Madison County;
John Samaniego of Shelby County;
Jonathon W. Horton of Etowah County;
Don Valenza of Houston County;
Shannon Oliver of Franklin County;
Ray Norris of Clarke County;
Billy Murray of St. Clair County;
Heath Taylor of Russell County, who also serves as president of the Alabama Sheriffs Association.

The counties from which Sessions received support span the state geographically, including counties that touch every state Alabama borders. The eight sheriffs protect approximately 981,000 Alabamians combined across their counties.

“Law enforcement officers trust Jeff Sessions because we know that he has our back,” said Sheriff Kevin Turner of Madison County, who represents more people than any other sheriff that has made an endorsement.

“Let me tell you. There is not one person across this state that can ever say Jeff Sessions is not there for law enforcement. What he does for sheriff’s offices across this state, what he does for the police departments, is absolutely what we need in Washington,” Turner added.

The endorsements come as the Senate race is getting heated. The Tuberville campaign on Monday went after Jeff Sessions for being, in their view, insufficiently loyal to President Trump while Sessions was Attorney General.

Additionally, a staffer on one of the Senate campaigns competing against Sessions told Yellowhammer News, “To be the former AG who gave grants to these sheriffs over the years, it’s sad he could only get 8 of 67 to endorse him. Shows a real problem.”

At the press conference Sessions also received support from Bill Partridge, who is the City of Oxford’s police chief and president of the Alabama Association of Police Chiefs.

“Jeff Sessions’ door has always been open to Alabama law enforcement officers — whenever there has been a need, he has answered the call, which is why I am proud to support his campaign for the U.S. Senate,” said Partridge.

“I have their backs and America says thanks,” Sessions said of law enforcement officers during his remarks.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@new-yhn.local or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.