Monday shakeups bring big change to Alabama’s U.S. Senate special election

(WIAT) — Monday was a day of twists and turns in the special election for U.S. Senate. Alabamians will go to the polls in August to elect a senator in the place of Jeff Sessions, who was President Trump’s appointee for Attorney General.

Former Governor Robert Bentley appointed Luther Strange to fill the seat before he resigned from office, but Governor Kay Ivey ordered the special election be moved up to 2017 shortly after taking office.

It’s a crowded field of candidates, with eleven Republicans and eight Democrats qualifying to run. On Monday, two of them dropped out, one from each side of the aisle, to endorse other candidates.

Hoover businessman Dom Gentile announced he’s ending his bid. Gentile’s wife has been diagnosed with cancer. He appeared alongside Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama’s fifth district, to endorse him for the Senate seat.

“It’s one more voice, reaching the same conclusion,” Brooks said. “Out of ten candidates, Mo Brooks is the one that has the ethics and the long-term conservative track record to rely on to do what is needed to properly represent the values of Alabama in the United States Senate.”

On the Democratic ticket, Lee County Vietnam veteran Brian McGee says he’s dropping out to support Doug Jones. Jones, a former U.S. Attorney, acknowledged the uphill climb of running as a Democrat in a deep red state, but says he believes he can win.

“I believe, by and large, there’s a lot more that we have in common among people in this state than divide us,” said Jones. “We have to do a better job. One of the problems, Democrats have just not done a good job of educating people about the issues.”

Primaries are set for August 15th, with runoffs potentially taking place September 26th. The general election is set for December 12th.

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