Rep. Mo Brooks announced his campaign for Senate on Monday, placing his baseless opposition to the certification of the 2020 presidential election at the center of his candidacy.
“Our republic’s election system, which is the underpinning of every republic, is under attack,” said the Alabama Republican. “In 2020, America suffered the worst voter fraud, and election theft, in history.”
Brooks, 66, also lambasted cancel culture, “tech censorship,” the skyrocketing rise of the national debt, the media, transgender rights and undocumented immigrants crossing the southern border. He attacked the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill for providing $5 billion to farmers of color, claiming, “The socialist Democrat message: Whites need not apply.” He then said that “all racism is repugnant,” and said people should be judged by their character rather than their race.
He then mentioned he “led the charge” to overturn the 2020 election, was twice endorsed by former President Donald Trump, that he stood by Trump twice during two impeachments – and that “no other candidate” can say that.
“Mo Brooks is a fearless fighter who will not submit to the demands of socialist Democrats, weak-kneed RINOs, or to the fake news media,” Brooks said. “Please help me take America back to the foundational principles that have combined to make us the greatest nation in world history.”
Brooks is immediately a leading contender for the seat left open by the retiring Republican Sen. Richard Shelby due to his strong connection to the former President’s supporters. Stephen Miller, a Trump senior adviser, introduced him to the crowd.
The business community abhorred the effort to overturn the 2020 election, and was shocked when the pro-Trump mob breached the US Capitol to stop the certification of the vote. Corporations suspended their donations to the 147 Republicans who objected. The simmering discontent could leave an opening for a business-friendly candidate.
Other potential Senate Republican candidates include Business Council of Alabama CEO Katie Boyd Britt, who served as Shelby’s former chief of staff, and Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill.
But Republicans in the state say that those who can serve as Trump’s tribute will win the primary and the seat in ruby red Alabama. The only Alabama members of Congress who actually voted to certify the election were the man Brooks seeks to replace – Shelby – and Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell.
The five-term congressman’s strongest competition may come from Lynda Blanchard, Trump’s former ambassador to Slovenia, who is less well-known but boasts the ability to self-fund her campaign.
She and her husband John, the co-founders of a real estate investment management company and the anti-poverty 100X Development Foundation, donated more than $1.9 million to Trump’s presidential campaigns in 2016 and 2020. Lynda was rewarded with the ambassadorship to then-first lady Melania Trump’s home country.
Blanchard held a fundraiser last week at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida; the former President showed up and took a picture with her.
“I think the person that’s going to win this primary is going to be somebody that is in that Trump-MAGA lane,” said former Alabama GOP Rep. Bradley Byrne, who ran for Senate in 2020. “And so right now, just looking at the field, the two candidates that are the most likely to get in that lane – and be successful – are Mo Brooks and Lynda Blanchard.”
While Brooks blasted Trump in favor of Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas during the 2016 presidential campaign, he quickly became a diehard supporter after Trump’s victory. He ran for Senate in 2017 after Trump picked then-Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general and came in third in the GOP primary with the support of conservative personalities Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity.
In 2020, Brooks became one of the first members of Congress to say publicly that he would object to the certification of then-Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. The night before the January 6 “Stop the Steal” rally, he tweeted that Trump had personally asked him to speak “about the election system weaknesses that the Socialist Democrats exploited to steal this election.”
At the rally, Brooks said, “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.” Just hours later, the pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol to try to stop the congressional certification of Biden’s victory.
After the insurrection, Brooks called for “the Capitol attack perpetrators” to be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” But he also falsely suggested that left-wing Antifa activists “orchestrated” the attack. Two Democrats introduced a resolution to censure Brooks for his comments at the rally.
In a recent interview with CNN, Brooks offered no regrets for his remarks at the January 6 rally.
“I did my duty for my country,” Brooks.
CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.