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Mo Brooks launches Senate bid in Alabama

Mo Brooks launches Senate bid in Alabama
© Greg Nash

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 (R-Ala.) is jumping into the race to replace retiring 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-Ala.). 

Brooks, a six-term congressman, made the announcement at an event in his hometown of Huntsville, Ala., on Monday evening alongside Stephen MillerStephen MillerDemocrat: Ex-Trump aide Miller should be jailed for human rights violations Trump endorses Mo Brooks for Senate in Alabama Stephen Miller launching group to challenge Democrats' policies through lawsuits MORE, a longtime adviser to 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 who before that worked as an aide to former Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Biden administration should resist 'slush-fund' settlements Garland should oppose Biden effort to reinstate controversial 'slush funds' practice MORE (R-Ala.). 

“Today, lest there be any doubt, I announce my candidacy for the United States Senate from the great state of Alabama,” Brooks said, poking fun at the fact that his announcement had been made clear well before he took the stage on Monday. Banners hung at the event earlier in the evening read: “Mo Brooks Senate.”

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In a fiery speech, Brooks painted a picture of a society besieged from nefarious forces “within our country.” He repeatedly evoked Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election had been “stolen” from Republicans, and warned that “socialists” were quickly taking over — another favorite talking point of Trump's.

“We should have hope for promise and a better future,” Brooks said. “But instead, looking at the policies that are emanating from Washington, D.C., there is fear, there is deep concern.”

“Our republic’s election system ... is under attack. In 2020, America suffered the worst voter fraud and election theft in history. And all of America would know that if the news media wasn’t suppressing the truth as they’re doing.”

Brooks had hinted at the campaign launch last week in a tweet teasing a “special announcement.” He’s the second prominent Republican to enter the GOP Senate primary in Alabama, joining Lynda Blanchard, Trump’s former ambassador to Slovenia. 

Brooks has positioned himself as one of Trump’s staunchest allies in the House, especially in the final months of his tenure in the White House, as he sought to reverse his loss in the 2020 presidential election. 

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Brooks, whose district spans Alabama's Tennessee Valley, delivered a fiery speech at the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the violent riot at the Capitol by a mob of Trump’s supporters. Just before that riot, Brooks urged rally-goers to “start taking down names and kicking ass.”

Addressing a crowd in Huntsville minutes before Brooks took the stage on Monday, Miller touted the Alabama congressman as Trump’s biggest ally in the House.

“Nobody over the last four years has had President Trump’s back more than Mo Brooks,” Miller said. “But now, I need you to have his back. I need you to have Mo’s back. Your vote for Mo Brooks will allow him to carry on the America First Agenda.”

“The fight to save America and to save our country, our constitution and our liberty begins right here in Alabama and it begins right here with your support for Mo Brooks,” he added.

Shelby, who has represented Alabama in the Senate for more than three decades, announced last month that he would not seek reelection to a seventh term in 2022, joining several other GOP incumbents, including Sens. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrNorth Carolina mayor Rett Newton launches Senate bid Democratic hopeful Jeff Jackson raises .3M for North Carolina Senate bid Rick Scott 'very optimistic' Grassley will run for another term MORE (N.C.), Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeySasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote Philly GOP commissioner on censures: 'I would suggest they censure Republican elected officials who are lying' Toomey censured by several Pennsylvania county GOP committees over impeachment vote MORE (Pa.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanTo encourage innovation, Congress should pass two bills protecting important R&D tax provision The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Biden-GOP infrastructure talks off to rocky start MORE (Ohio) and Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntDC delegate pushes for removing Capitol fence despite car attack Coons says bipartisan infrastructure package 'likely' to be smaller, not fully financed Biden says compromise 'inevitable' on infrastructure plan MORE (Mo.) in unveiling retirement plans. 

Several other prospective candidates are weighing a bid for the longtime Alabama senator’s seat, including Shelby’s former chief of staff Katie Boyd Britt and Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill. Rep. Gary PalmerGary James PalmerMo Brooks launches Senate bid in Alabama Former Trump officials eye bids for political office The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by TikTok - Senate trial will have drama, but no surprise ending MORE (R-Ala.) is also seen as a potential contender.

The primary contest is still in its early stages, but given Alabama’s deep-red character, the eventual nominee will be on track to succeed Shelby in the Senate. 

Former Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who won a special election in 2017 to replace Sessions in the Senate, lost his first reelection bid in November by more than 20 points. Trump also carried the state in both 2016 and 2020 by more than 20 points.

In fact, in no state was Trump more popular than in Alabama, according to polling from Morning Consult that shows his most recent approval rating there at 62 percent, while disapproval sat at only 34 percent.

The former president’s outsize support suggests that his endorsement could prove decisive in the GOP Senate primary, raising the possibility of a bitter competition for Trump’s backing.

Trump hasn’t weighed in on the race yet. But Miller sought on Monday to cast Brooks as the only candidate in the field who could claim a clear allegiance to the former president and his brand of ultra-conservative populism.

“The America First movement is counting on you,” Miller said. “If you truly want to put America first, last always...then you need to get your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, everyone you can find, to vote for Mo Brooks.”

—Updated at 8:06 p.m.