Though Sessions would be the clear front-runner if he runs, his frayed ties with Trump could create an opening for other Republicans to make a play for the seat — and cause a messy primary similar to the one that cost the party the seat last year, several Alabama Republicans tracking the situation said…

But the Republicans were split on whether the 71-year-old Sessions would take the plunge, and whether he would clear the GOP field if he did. The belief, at least among some Republicans in the state, that Sessions might not be a gimme for the seat shows just how tumultuous the past three years have been for the Alabama political icon: From coming out as Trump’s earliest and most prominent campaign supporters, to being tapped as the nation’s most powerful law enforcement official, and now, potentially, to a difficult campaign for his old seat.

One Republican operative said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Trump get behind a different candidate if Sessions run.