Former President Donald Trump will rally the faithful in Alabama on Saturday, a boon to Rep. Mo Brooks, his favored Senate candidate, who is behind in the money race there and struggling to attract some Republicans unnerved by his brand of slash-and-burn politics.
This year, the six-term congressman helped lead the charge in Congress to overturn the 2020 presidential election results and launched a run for Senate. He then earned the former President’s support and put it at the forefront of his campaign, displaying ENDORSED BY TRUMP above his own name on placards. Brooks is now the front-runner for the 2022 race.
No candidate in Alabama could say with a straight face they would pass on a Trump endorsement, said Republican Rep. Barry Moore, who supports Brooks. To most Alabamians, a Trump endorsement is the best assurance out there that the receiving candidate will be out front in the fight for the issues they care about.
But the Senate race will test the enduring strength of Trump, as some Republicans look for an alternative to Brooks. Besides placing his baseless opposition to the certification of the 2020 election at the center of his candidacy, Brooks has made a series of controversial statements, talking about a war on Whites and appearing to be sympathetic to a man police arrested this week in connection with a bomb threat near the US Capitol.
Although this terrorist’s motivation is not yet publicly known, and generally speaking, I understand citizenry anger directed at dictatorial Socialism and its threat to liberty, freedom and the very fabric of American society, Brooks tweeted Thursday. The way to stop Socialism’s march is for patriotic Americans to fight back in the 2022 and 2024 election.
Among those running in the GOP primary against Brooks are: Katie Britt, the former president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama; Lynda Blanchard, Trump’s US ambassador to Slovenia; and businesswoman Jessica Taylor. If any won, they’d very likely become the first woman elected to the Senate from Alabama.
While Blanchard poured millions into her campaign, Britt raised the most of any candidate in the second financial quarter of the year: $2.2 million, which is more than twice what Brooks brought in during that time. Britt also won the support of retiring Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, her former boss and the man currently holding the seat.
Shelby told CNN that Brooks is a fringe congressman and not a mainstream guy, while Britt is by far the best qualified, promising candidate in that job.
But the former President’s rally in Cullman, Alabama — part of a congressional district where Trump received 81% of the vote, the most of any in the country — will remind voters who he supports for Senate.
It is also likely to increase Brooks’ war chest. The congressman has put ads on Facebook telling his supporters that if they donate $1,000 a person, he’ll set them up in an air-conditioned tent and seats near the rally’s stage. For $250, he will ensure they get excellent seating.
The Trump factor
Other candidates have attacked Brooks, who was first elected to public office as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives in 1982, as a career politician.
But Trump’s support could hold more sway in the GOP primary, leading candidates to go after his choice while linking themselves to the former President. Britt is already up with Facebook ads saying it’s time to finish Trump’s border wall.
We take great pride in our hospitality here in Alabama, and we welcome President Trump back to our state, Britt said in a statement. He showed the nation that we don’t need ineffective career politicians in Washington. We need someone who’s going to get things done in the U.S. Senate, and I’m that person.