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By Carrie Dann

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has named state Attorney General Luther Strange as the replacement for Sen. Jeff Sessions.

Strange, 63, has served as the state's attorney general since 2011 and had previously announced that he would run for the Senate seat in 2018 even if he was not named as Sessions' temporary replacement.

Sessions was confirmed by the Senate late Wednesday to be the next Attorney General of the United States.

"Senator Sessions’ commitment to public service is nearly unparalleled in Alabama history and his departure from the Senate leaves tremendous shoes to fill," Strange said in a statement. "I pledge to the people of Alabama to continue the same level of leadership as Jeff Sessions in consistently fighting to protect and advance the conservative values we all care about.”

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange testifies on Capitol Hill in 2016.Molly Riley / AP, file

A lawyer and onetime Washington lobbyist, Strange is a staunch Republican who campaigned with Bentley during the 2010 election. A former basketball player who stands 6'9", his height has earned him the nickname "Big Luther."

As attorney general, Strange's office was also involved in an investigation related to the governor, although the details of the probe have been murky. Bentley was accused last year of having an affair with one of his aides.

In November, Strange asked the state's House Judiciary Committee to suspend its own impeachment investigation "until I am able to report to you that the necessary related work of my office has been completed."

Bentley will now be able to choose Strange's replacement.