Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks announces bid for Sessions' Senate seat

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Story highlights

  • Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks announced a bid for Attorney General Jeff Sessions' Senate seat Monday
  • Brooks will challenge Sen. Luther Strange, joining a crowded GOP primary field

(CNN)Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks announced Monday he will run for Attorney General Jeff Sessions' old Senate seat.

The Montgomery Advertiser reported that Brooks launched his candidacy Monday with an email announcement, saying he is "the only candidate for the Senate who has a record of proven conservative leadership."
Brooks' bid sets up a clash with GOP Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed to fill Sessions' seat in February after he was tapped for President Donald Trump's cabinet. And Brooks joins a crowded GOP primary field -- three other Alabama Republicans, from the state legislature to the state Supreme Court, have already declared, and more are expected to jump in.
    Brooks is a staunch conservative: he aligned with the tea party during his 2010 election to the House, and is a member of the House Freedom Caucus. He supported Sen. Ted Cruz during the 2016 presidential primary before eventually backing Trump.
    But Brooks' conservative bona fides will contend with a raft of recent controversies.
    In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper days before the House voted to pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare -- which Brooks supported -- he argued that the GOP proposal would reduce health care costs for "people who lead good lives," which sparked a wave of backlash. And Brooks' support for the GOP health bill should itself be a factor in the campaign.
    Additionally, during Sessions' contentious confirmation hearing to become attorney general, Brooks said that Democrats' criticism of Sessions was part of their "war on whites."
    "It's really about political power and racial division and what I've referred to on occasion as the 'war on whites,'" Brooks told an Alabama radio show in January.