When delegates elected in Alabama’s March 1st primary travel to Cleveland, Ohio, for the Republican National Convention in July they will be led by Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, the highest-profile elected official to have endorsed frontrunner Donald Trump.
Sessions was elected Saturday at an ALGOP delegation meeting as chair of the group, which consists of 50 pledged delegates, and 47 alternative delegates, who will be elected in May.
Of Alabama’s delegates, 36 are pledged to Trump and 14 to Cruz.
Chairman of Alabama’s delegation isn’t the only position Sessions has earned since announcing his open support of Trump in February. Last month the billionaire named Sessions chairman of his national security advisory committee.
“We need to understand the limits of our ability to intervene successfully in other nations,” said Sessions when the appointment was announced. “It is time for a healthy dose of foreign policy realism. In the Middle East, this means forming partnerships based on shared interests, not merely overthrowing regimes in the dangerous attempt to plant democracies.”
But having at the helm of the delegation one of most influential and vocal Trump campaign supporters could guard against any strategies to woo Alabama’s delegates to another candidate, should the convention be contested.
In addition to Sessions’ election as chair, Trump delegates Representative Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) and Laura Payne were elected to represent Alabama on the Rules Committee, which will decide the rules under which the convention proceeds.
These two positions, held in Alabama by staunch Trump supporters, could end up being some of the most important on the delegation.
Traveling to Cleveland a few days before the convention, the members of the Rules Committee will decide what threshold a candidate must meet, and under what conditions, to become the party’s nominee.
In what is shaping up to be a hotly contested convention, the Rules Committee will have even more influence than in previous years.