Republicans say the maneuvering among Trump’s allies is indicative of the former president’s continuing popularity with grassroots conservatives who are eager for the next wave of leaders to take up his mantle.

“It’s still Trump’s party and he may actually have gained in popularity [with the GOP base] since impeachment,” said former Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.). “Many Trump supporters felt everyone was against him from the beginning when he was coming down the elevator and it hasn’t stopped since he left office. If the Democratic goal was to disqualify him, they may have just made him larger.”

In deep-red Alabama, the race to replace Shelby could turn on which candidate is seen as the closest to Trump.

Sources tell The Hill that Sims, the former White House aide who also spent time at ODNI, is seriously weighing a bid.