Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has announced the special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions won’t be held until next year.
Governor Bentley’s office issued a news release yesterday saying a special primary election would be held June 5, 2018, with a primary runoff taking place July 17 if necessary. The special general election will be held on November 6, 2018. Those dates coordinate exactly with the 2018 General Election.
Bentley says he consulted heavily with Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill and considered a large number of factors in setting the election date. Those included “compliance with federal and state statutes and cases, saving unnecessary expense on a costly separate statewide special election, and setting a time that is expected to increase voter participation.”
Former Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange will serve as U.S. Senator until the winner of that special election is sworn into the Senate. The long delay is causing controversy among Alabama Democrats, particularly the Legislative Black Caucus which says Bentley is violating state election law by waiting so long to hold the election.