In a state where Trump received over 60% of the vote, his approval was widely sought. Brooks and her rival, businesswoman Lynda Blanchard, had been pushing for support from the former president.
It’s a big blow for Blanchard, who is touting her former role as U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia and has already pledged to spend $ 5 million of her own fortune on the race. Blanchard, who has made a large donation to Trump, kicked off her campaign last month with an advertisement in which she describes herself as a “proud member of the MAGA movement.” The place featured an image of his pickup truck, adorned with a Trump bumper sticker.
But Blanchard insisted she had no intention of dropping out of the race, saying in a statement that she was “unwavering in my commitment to this race, to the people of Alabama and in my support for President Donald J. Trump “.
“I have remained steadfast in my support for President Trump since the day he stepped off the escalator in June 2015. He is the greatest president of my life, and I plan to go to Washington as as US Senator from Alabama to represent America. The first agenda President Trump stood for every day, ”Blanchard said.
Brooks, who was first elected to the House in 2010, has become a staunch ally of Trump. The congressman was a speaker at the pro-Trump rally on Jan.6 that preceded the Capitol riot. Brooks, 66, urged the crowd to “start taking names and kicking ass.”
He has garnered the support of Trump adviser Stephen Miller, who joined Brooks when he launched his campaign last month. Miller is a former aide to former Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).
The two candidates are in the running to replace retirement Republican Senator Richard Shelby, who has held the seat since 1987. Trump’s endorsement could deter other potential candidates from entering the race. The list of potential candidates includes former Shelby Chief of Staff Katie Britt, Secretary of State John Merrill and Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Del Marsh.
The former president relished his role as the GOP kingmaker, granting his Imprimatur on the 2022 contenders who have shown the greatest loyalty. Trump’s endorsements in next year’s Senate races so far have gone to entrenched GOP holders who have supported his agenda, including Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, Mike Crapo of Idaho and John Kennedy of Louisiana.
But Trump’s approval in Alabama won’t necessarily seal Brooks’ victory. In a 2017 special election to replace sessions, Trump initially endorsed and campaigned for the former interim Senator Luther Strange, who then lost the Republican nomination to former Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, Roy Moore. Trump then endorsed Moore – who had been accused of sexual misconduct with minors – in the closing days of the Democrat Doug Jones race, which Jones narrowly won.