Senator Luther Strange forced into "campaign mode" just three months into freshman term

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Senator Luther Strange (R-AL) is campaigning for his senate seat earlier than expected. The freshman senator, just three months into his term, is trying to make his way on Capitol Hill. Now he turns his focus to retaining his spot in Washington following Governor Kay Ivey’s (R-AL) announcement that the Senate special election will take place later this year, not next. Strange says he is ready for the election no matter when it is.

Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) says he welcomes the earlier-than-expected special election.

“ I welcome the election,” said Strange. “I think the sooner the better as far as I’m concerned.”

Strange will have to fight to keep a hold on his post all while he tries to blaze a trail in Washington.

“The governor had to call a special election, that’s part of the law,” said Strange. “So whether they called it tomorrow, as I said...tomorrow, next month or next year, that’s indifferent to me.”

Before resigning amid scandal, Governor Robert Bentley (R-AL) appointed Strange to now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ seat instead of holding a special election. Strange says despite the controversy surrounding his appointment, he thinks Alabamians approved of his record while he was Alabama’s Attorney General for six years.

“I get it that people are upset with the former governor, but he’s left the stage. He’s gone,” said Strange. “Really I think the decision for the citizens of the state is who is the best person to be their senator? Who has the most experience? Who has a true, proven conservative record?”

Strange is just three months into his freshman term on Capitol Hill. Some says it is a disadvantage that he will have to juggle campaigning and legislating this early on.

“All those principles of the job have to now share space with not just running, we always also talk about this, but also raising money,” said David Hawkings, a senior editor at CQ Roll Call.

Hawkings says Strange’s campaign history shows he can handle this short timetable. But, he says, being the only candidate protecting a seat in 2017 will put the spotlight on the senator.

“It’s an intellectually very tough job,” said Hawkings. “The only way to really do it is to just sort of be in the moment that you’re in, then be able to switch gears to another moment.”

Strange looks ahead to the Aug. 15 primary. The general election is set for Dec. 12. Today, 52-year-old Hoover businessman Dominic "Dom" Gentile, announced he’ll run for the seat. Also running are Republican State Rep. Ed Henry of Hartselle; President of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, Dr. Randy Brinson, and former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore.