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Trump's Slovenia Ambassador Lynda Blanchard jumps into Alabama Senate race

Trump's Slovenia Ambassador Lynda Blanchard jumps into Alabama Senate race
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Lynda Blanchard, a businesswoman and former President TrumpDonald TrumpRomney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS McConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS US raises concerns about Iran's seriousness in nuclear talks MORE’s ambassador to Slovenia, announced Thursday she will run next year for the Alabama Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyFive takeaways from Biden's first budget proposal Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists Biden defense budget criticized by Republicans, progressives alike MORE (R).

Blanchard is the first Republican to officially jump into what is expected to be a crowded GOP primary in the race to fill the solidly red seat that Shelby has held since 1987. In a nearly three-minute-long video announcing her campaign, Blanchard cast herself as an outsider and fierce defender of former President Trump.

“I’m a Christian conservative and business builder, a mother of eight wonderful children. I’m a proud member of the MAGA movement. Like you, I’m grateful for the leadership and courage of our 45th president, Donald Trump,” she said over video of her driving a truck emblazoned with a Trump campaign sticker. “Today, I begin a new journey: a bid to earn your trust and your vote to serve as the next United States senator from our great state.”

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Blanchard added that she “never thought about serving in public office” until Trump asked her to be his ambassador to Slovenia, which she called "an important post in a beautiful country that was once Melania's home," and that she “leapt at the opportunity to fight for the America first agenda.”

“That lit a fire in me to continue the cause as a public champion for the values we hold near and dear. Free speech, the right to bear arms, religious freedom, the sanctity of life for all of God’s children, born and unborn, lower taxes, a secure border, the belief that America is the greatest nation that the world has ever known. Those ideas seem like common sense to me and you because we’re from Alabama,” she said. 

Blanchard vowed to fight against Democrats in Washington, name checking President BidenJoe BidenBiden taps California workplace safety leader to head up OSHA Romney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS US mulling cash payments to help curb migration MORE, Senate Majority Charles SchumerChuck SchumerThe first Southern state legalizes marijuana — what it means nationally H.R. 1/S. 1: Democrats defend their majorities, not honest elections McCarthy asks FBI, CIA for briefing after two men on terror watchlist stopped at border MORE (D-N.Y.), Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe growing threat of China's lawfare Pelosi planned on retiring until Trump won election: report Biden: 'Prince Philip gladly dedicated himself to the people of the UK' MORE (D-Calif.) and "The Squad,” a quartet of progressive female lawmakers in the House, all of whom she accused of trying to reverse Trump’s accomplishments.

“If you’re sick of career politicians, insiders and swamp creatures that stand for socialism or cheerlead censorship, then I’m asking for your vote to stand strong for Alabama by sending a true outsider to the Senate,” she said.

The red-meat-filled video previews the kind of arguments Republicans are anticipated to put forth in the likely unwieldy 2022 GOP primary race, the victor of which will be the heavy favorite to win the general election.

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Trump won Alabama by more than 35 points in both 2016 and 2020, and he remains wildly popular in the Yellowhammer State. Touting his support will likely be key in locking up the Republican nomination, and candidates are expected to clamor for his endorsement.

Among the Republicans who have publicly expressed interest in the seat are Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - World mourns the death of Prince Philip The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Trump faces test of power with early endorsements MORE, a firebrand who helped lead the push to overturn the presidential election results; Katie Britt, Shelby’s former chief of staff and president of the Business Council of Alabama; and Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill. Several others, including Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth and Rep. Bradley ByrneBradley Roberts ByrneTrump's Slovenia Ambassador Lynda Blanchard jumps into Alabama Senate race Mo Brooks expresses interest in running for Shelby's Senate seat Ex-Rep. Mike Conaway, former aide launch lobbying firm MORE, are considered potential candidates.

Democrats will face a steep uphill battle in the race to replace Shelby. The state party panned Blanchard after her announcement, highlighting her contributions to Trump’s campaign.

“Lynda Blanchard sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to Trump in exchange for a fancy ambassadorship in Europe,” the Alabama Democratic Party tweeted. “Lynda won’t fight the swamp, she IS the swamp.”