Auditor Jim Ziegler said Alabama law calls for an election to be set without delay if the seat is vacant for more than four months before the next regular election is scheduled. Instead, Bentley appointed Strange, who had been the state’s attorney general, to fill out the remainder of Sessions’s term, which ends in 2020.
“The whole thing stinks,” Ziegler told the AP. “We’ve got a Bentley appointed senator instead of a peoples’ elected senator.”
Strange faced strong criticism while attorney general when he requested a pause in a state House committee’s impeachment probe of Bentley because he was pursuing “related work,” which he never disclosed the purpose of.
Strange said he sent a letter to the House committee on Nov. 3 before the presidential election and before Sessions was tapped to be attorney general.
The committee was investigating accusations by Bentley’s law enforcement secretary that the governor had an affair with a staffer and had interfered with law enforcement business. Bentley has denied the affair and said he hadn’t committed any impeachable offenses.
Committee Chairman Mike Jones said last week he expects to resume the investigation before the end of the legislature’s session.