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Mo Brooks expresses interest in running for Shelby's Senate seat

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.) said Monday he is interested in running for the Senate in the wake of  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’s (R-Ala.) announcement that he will not seek another term in 2022.

Brooks, a key ally of former President TrumpDonald TrumpHarry Reid reacts to Boehner book excerpt: 'We didn't mince words' Man arrested for allegedly threatening to stab undercover Asian officer in NYC Trump says GOP will take White House in 2024 in prepared speech MORE, has come under fire by Democrats and some in his own party for his role in GOP efforts to overturn the 2020 election results on Jan. 6, a push that led to the insurrection at the Capitol that left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer.

But Brooks said the criticisms he’s faced have helped raise his profile and could help him in a primary race.

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"I am running for election in 2022, either for my House seat or for the Alabama Senate seat,” Brooks said in a statement.

“Quite frankly, the last three months of scurrilous and palpable false attacks on me by Socialist Democrats and their fake news media allies have been a wonderful blessing because they have sent my state-wide name I.D. and Republican primary support through the roof.”

Brooks has been a staunch supporter of Trump, which some argue will give him a boost in the deep-red state. He unsuccessfully ran for the upper chamber during a special election in 2017, where he ultimately finished third in the primary. But Brooks supporters feel his odds are stronger this cycle. 

“Mo would be the unquestioned Trump candidate in the Trumpiest of states—with high statewide name ID and over a million in cash to boot. What angle could another challenger even try with Alabama voters?” one GOP operative told The Hill.

Shelby, 86, announced he would not run for a seventh term on Monday.

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In addition to Brooks, sources familiar with the Alabama GOP political landscape speculate Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, Shelby’s former chief of staff Katie Boyd Britt and 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.) could hop in the race.

Former 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 (R-Ala.), who was defeated in the primary for the seat now held by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), said he is leaning against another run but is leaving his options open.

“I am not presently considering the race. The primary is a long way away and I don’t feel the need to think about it right now. I’m doubtful I will run, however. It’s too crazy up there and I’m enjoying life away from it,” he told The Hill.

One senior GOP source said it is unlikely 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.) will run again. Rep. Robert AderholtRobert Brown AderholtMo Brooks expresses interest in running for Shelby's Senate seat Shelby won't run for reelection Will Biden continue NASA's Artemis program to return to the moon? MORE (R-Ala.) also is unlikely to run given that he is a senior member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee and could one day serve as ranking member or chairman. A move to the Senate would make him a backbencher in the upper chamber. 

“I don’t think Robert runs but Mo is likely to. He’s counting on a Trump endorsement and if that isn’t forthcoming, he may stay put,” said a second Alabama GOP source. “The field is really wide open.”