In a state where Trump received more than 60 percent of the vote, his endorsement was highly sought after. Brooks and his rival, businesswoman Lynda Blanchard, had aggressively lobbied for the former president’s backing.
It’s a blow to Blanchard, who has been promoting her previous role as the U.S. ambassador to Slovenia and has already pledged to spend $ 5 million of her own fortune on the run. Blanchard, who has donated a lot to Trump, launched her campaign last month with an ad describing herself as a “proud member of the MAGA movement.” The ad featured an image of his truck, adorned with a Trump bumper sticker.
But Blanchard insisted that he had no plans to drop out of the race, saying in a statement that he was “steadfast in my commitment to this race, to the people of Alabama and in my support of President Donald J. Trump.”
“I have been a strong supporter of President Trump since the day he walked down the escalators in June 2015. He is the greatest president of my life and I intend to go to Washington as a United States Senator from Alabama to represent the United States. First agenda that President Trump defended every day, “Blanchard said.
Brooks, who was first elected to the House in 2010, became a staunch ally of Trump. The congressman was a speaker at the pro-Trump rally on January 6 that preceded the riots on Capitol Hill. Brooks, 66 years old, he urged the crowd to “start jotting down names and kicking butt.”
He has been endorsed by Trump adviser Stephen Miller, who joined Brooks in launching his campaign last month. Miller is a former aide to former Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).
The two candidates run to replace retire Republican Senator Richard Shelby, who has been in office since 1987. Trump’s endorsement could deter other potential candidates from running. The list of potential contenders includes former Shelby chief of staff Katie Britt, Secretary of State John Merrill and State Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Del Marsh.
The former president has enjoyed his role as a Republican kingmaker, giving him his imprimatur in 2022 contenders who have shown the utmost loyalty. So far, Trump’s endorsement in next year’s Senate election has gone to entrenched Republican rulers who supported his agenda, including Senators Tim Scott of South Carolina, Mike Crapo of Idaho and John Kennedy of Louisiana.
But Trump’s endorsement in Alabama may not necessarily seal Brooks’s victory. During a 2017 special election to replace Sessions, Trump initially endorsed and campaigned for former interns. Senator Luther Strange, who lost the Republican nomination to Roy Moore, former Chief Justice of the state. Trump then backed Moore, who had been accused of sexual misconduct with minors, in the closing days of the race against Democrat Doug Jones, which Jones narrowly won.