In this June 23, 2016, file photo, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, to discuss the Supreme Court's immigration ruling. Republican Donald Trump has narrowed down his vice presidential shortlist to a handful of contenders that he's met with including Sessions. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) (Jeff Sessions)

By Howard Koplowitz
on September 12, 2016 at 5:19 PM, updated September 12, 2016 at 5:39 PM

Although he's not a candidate, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., has heavily influenced the 2016 presidential race, with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump adopting many of Sessions's policy positions on immigration and trade.

Alabama's junior senator and former Sessions communications director-turned-senior Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller shared the No. 2 spot on The Politico 50 – a list of the "top thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics," according to the website.

"[I]f you're looking to understand where Trump's particular combination of fiery nativism, anti-immigrant fervor and 'America First' foreign policy connects to modern politics, there's a strong case to be made that this unlikely team from Capitol Hill has a lot to do with it: Trump is running on ideas that Sessions has been pushing for years—now crafted by Miller into a message for the candidate," reads a blurb on the duo.

Sessions was the first senator to endorse Trump, doing so at a Madison rally last year – about six months before the first primary. The Alabama senator's backing helped lend credibility to Trump's campaign before elected officials started to jump on the Trump Train.

While Sessions played a leading role in killing the Senate immigration reform bill in 2003, Miller wrote a handbook for House members on how to defeat the legislation, Politico noted.

Sessions and Miller were only behind Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on the Politico 50 list. The senators and presidential candidates were singled out because they were 2016's "most striking examples of how actual ideas can move the political realm," according to Politico.