Last night, as expected, Jeff Sessions lost the Republican Senate primary in Alabama to former football coach Tommy Tuberville. It wasn’t close.
Sessions, a gracious man, was gracious in defeat. He strongly endorsed Tuberville and took no shots at President Trump, who played the key role in bringing about the former Senator’s defeat.
Trump turned against Sessions because, as Attorney General, Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation. I won’t revisit this matter now. Most readers probably know my views about the dispute, which are markedly pro Sessions. My writings on the subject can found with a little googling.
In my opinion, Jeff Sessions was one of the very best Senators of the past 50 years. His votes were uniformly sound and he led the charge on key issues like defeating immigration reform and jailbreak legislation (which eventually passed after Sessions had moved on).
We have a good idea of how Tuberville will vote on key issues in the Senate if Trump is reelected — a 50-50 prospect, at best. He likely will vote the way Trump wants him to.
Once Trump is gone, there is no assurance as to how Tuberville will vote on key issues future Senates will confront. Tuberville has no track record from which to infer either specific stances or a pattern of solid conservative voting.
We can be confident, though, that his votes will be more sound than those of his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones. Tuberville certainly deserves our support in his quest to oust Jones.
But don’t expect Tuberville to lead any charges for key conservative causes, the way Sessions did. There’s no indication that, as a freshman Senator, he has the knowledge or status to do so.
In sum, conservatism would have been far better served if Jeff Sessions had prevailed last night.
Bill Otis writes an appreciation of Sessions here, which I strongly recommend.
JOHN adds: I agree with Paul that Jeff Sessions was a great senator. In addition to the issues Paul mentions, Sessions did an excellent job leading the Senate Budget Committee. Unlike many politicians, he was truly interested in policy, and thought highly of Power Line. His office invited me to participate in a number of media availabilities, and Sessions called me a few times to talk about one issue or another.
I don’t know a thing about Tuberville except that he used to be a football coach, but I doubt that he is a Power Line reader and I will be surprised if Tuberville calls to get my thoughts on policy issues of the day.