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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions' announcement that he attempt to reclaim his Alabama Senate seat in 2020 is driving a wedge among Republicans.

The big picture: The congressional GOP's unity has been continually tested during the Trump administration, but maintaining a united front has become more important than ever for the party as it angles to flip the House and hang onto the Senate in 2020.

  • Alabama's Senate seat is seen as an obvious target given Democratic Sen. Doug Jones' tenuous status in the deeply red state.
  • Sessions has been warned that Trump, who soured on the attorney general for recusing himself during the Mueller probe, is likely to attack him.

What they're saying, via the AP, ranging from supportive to dismissive of Sessions' run:

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.): "The people in Alabama will figure this out. ... We do want to get that seat back, and I’m hopeful we will."
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) said that he wishes Sessions would stay out of the race despite the fact that he was a "great senator"
  • Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.): "He’s a man of integrity and, of course, he’ll have to run his own race and, you know, that’s up to the people of Alabama, but I believe he’ll be a formidable candidate."
  • Marty Connors, a former chair of the Alabama Republican Party: "If Trump takes on Sessions, I don’t know what happens."

The state of play: Sessions also faces a crowded field of challengers in the Republican primary. They include:

  • Businessman Stanley Adair
  • Rep. Bradley Byrne, who said that "Alabama deserves a senator who will stand with the president and won’t run away and hide from the fight."
  • Alabama Secretary of State John Merill
  • Rep. Arnold Mooney
  • Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who lost the race for the Senate seat in 2016 to Jones after sexual misconduct allegations.
  • Former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Liz Cheney: Americans deserve better than choice of Biden or Trump

Rep. Liz Cheney talks with Lesley Stahl on CBS' "60 Minutes." Photo: CBS News

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday that Americans "deserve better than having to choose between" President Biden's "disastrous" policies and former President Trump, "who violated his oath of office."

Why it matters: Cheney made the remarks after CBS' Lesley Stahl put it to her in the interview that Republicans feel that her joining the House select committee in charge of investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot helps "keep the focus on Trump instead of on the shortcomings of the Biden administration."

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First look: The LCV's $4M ad buy

A screenshot from a new League of Conservation Voters ad supporting Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

The League of Conservation Voters and Climate Power are aiming another $4 million worth of ads at centrist House Democrats, urging them to support the climate provisions in President Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Progressive groups are trying to counter the onslaught of conservative money pouring into swing districts. Both sides are trying to define Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda and pressure lawmakers to support — or oppose — the legislation scheduled for a vote in the House this week.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Shutdown Plan B

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Senate will hold a futile vote Monday night — just 72 hours before a potential shutdown — on a House-passed bill to fund the government through Dec. 3 and raise the debt limit.

Why it matters: The bill is going to fail. Period. But then comes Plan B: A "clean" continuing resolution — stripped of language about raising the debt limit — that Democrats spent the past week preparing, Axios is told.

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