Alabama attorney general appointed to Jeff Sessions' Senate seat
Luther Strange (Youtube)

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley on Thursday appointed his state's attorney general to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Republican Jeff Sessions' confirmation as the next attorney general of the United States.

Luther Strange, also a Republican, will hold the Senate seat until a special election in 2018, the governor's office said in a statement. Strange was elected in 2010 as Alabama's attorney general.

Sessions, 70, served two decades as a senator for Alabama before a divided Senate on Wednesday confirmed him as President Donald Trump's attorney general.

"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," Strange said in a statement announcing his appointment.

The governor's office said Bentley conducted more than 20 hours of interviews with candidates before making his selection.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Bernadette Baum)