Who will it be? A race to get on the ballot for the August Senate Primary

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Governor Kay Ivey will move up the special election for former Senator Jeff Sessions' seat by a year.

The General Election for Alabama's Junior Senator seat will take place this December.

Within hours of this announcement, many Republicans have come forward to say they're considering, or are officially running against Senator Strange.

After spending much of the afternoon on the phone with Alabama lawmakers, we have been able to confirm that Representative Robert Aderholt is fielding 'calls to encourage him,' Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh is considering a run, and local State Representative Ed Henry is officially tossing his hat into the ring.

WHNT News 19's longtime political analyst Jess Brown believes that while many may say they're thinking it over, the final list of candidates may be more limited.

"I think more will be tempted to take on Sen. Strange than will actually take the leap and do it," said Brown.

After seven years in the Alabama legislature, Rep. Henry is the first to declare he has his eyes on Washington and Senator Luther Strange's seat.

“I think State Rep Ed Henry, within the Republican Party, I don’t think anyone is going to have better credentials to appeal to social conservatives," said Brown.

Credentials will only get him so far.

Brown said Sen. Strange has the biggest weapon in his arsenal, the "I" for Incumbent by his name.

“If you’ve got two years as a United States senator and you do a reasonably decent job, the history of Alabama suggests we keep sending you back.”

While Strange might have preferred a 2018 election, so citizens could get used to him in the seat, the accelerated time benefits him from a fundraising standpoint.

“He’s simply going to have better relations and a better opportunity to develop relations," said Brown.

That's why Brown believes the best chance to unseat Strange in the Republican Primary lies with a rising star of political contributions in Sweet Home Alabama.

“Follow the Poarch Creek money," said Brown.

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians aren't fond of Sen. Strange, from his days in the state Attorney General's office.

“They spent over a million dollars trying to defeat him in his re-election as Attorney General," he said.

Then, of course, is the question whether Sen. Strange's appointment by Governor Bentley, will cast a shadow over his campaign.

“I really wonder, with the exception of his appointment to the Senate, whatever real liability he has. Maybe they’ll find one," said Brown.

As Alabama politics has shown us over the last few days, there's really no telling what could happen.

“Perhaps you can make a campaign issue out of that, but the reality is, Sen. Strange as a sitting senator will have enormous opportunities to build name recognition and he already has substantially more name recognition than the others," said Brown.

All of this will move rapidly. The filing deadline to make the August Primary ballot is May 17, less than a month away.

So for those that do plan to enter the race, they're going to have to do it soon so they can start raising money.

As more candidates enter the Senate race, we'll let you know on the WHNT News 19 mobile app.