Last week marked one year until Alabama Republicans go to the polls to vote on who they want representing their party in the U.S. Senate race on the November 2022 ballot.
Even though it seems like a long way out, the public witnessed the election cycle’s first clash between the two announced GOP candidates, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks and former U.S. ambassador to Slovenia Lynda Blanchard.
To get you up to speed on this “shot barely heard around the world,” Blanchard accused Brooks of taking “liberal loot” from so-called “woke” corporations.
By “woke” corporations, she was referring to Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Google and others, where busybodies who invented useful devices like sensitivity training once were relegated to the human resources department now reflect the bulk of corporate governance.
Brooks insists he did nothing of the sort, adding that accepting campaign contributions from a corporation would be illegal. However, he doesn’t deny someone associated with one of those companies gave money to one of his political campaigns at some point in his long political career.
As Alabama Daily News’ Todd Stacy correctly pointed out, while Brooks is the frontrunner, he has shown “a tendency to swing at pitches in the dirt.”
Various early polling shows Brooks at near 60 percent while Blanchard polls at 5 percent.
Circular firing squads are not unusual in primaries, but as to why Brooks is participating with a 50-plus point lead a year out is anyone’s guess.
It does expose a vulnerability that could be a problem in the future for Congressman Brooks.
As of press time, Business Council of Alabama President and CEO Katie Boyd Britt is expected to announce her candidacy for the U.S. Senate Republican nomination at any moment.
Britt, an Enterprise native, who served previously as both a press aide and chief of staff for retiring U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, is considered to be the pick of Alabama’s business community, which is what was once called the “Big Mules.”
She is also the handpicked choice of Shelby, who carries some political clout around the state, although not as much as he once had (See: Luther Strange in 2017, Jeff Sessions in 2020).
Assuming she is a candidate for U.S. Senate, she and her campaign consultant have to be thinking about how they can make Blanchard and Brooks fight it out.
If the primary election were tomorrow, Brooks wins without a runoff, and barring a highly unlikely Doug Jones scenario later in November 2022, Brooks would be the next U.S. senator from Alabama.
However, the odds for an opponent in a GOP primary improve in a head-to-head runoff. That means the goal for any candidate, at least for now, would be to keep Brooks under 50 percent in the May 24, 2022 primary and live to fight another day.
How might you go about it?
As has been demonstrated by Blanchard and company, you bait Brooks with absurd accusations and try to force him into responding.
Does anyone think Brooks is “woke?” Does anyone really believe he accepts “liberal loot” because he has been secretly plotting to advance a left-wing progressive agenda and further America down the path of socialism?
The answer is very few if any.
Even if it is very few, perhaps that is enough. Typically, a primary contest in a midterm election cycle with a Democrat in the White House means a very conservative turnout is likely on primary day.
Could Blanchard try to “out conservative” Brooks?
Meanwhile, with Secretary of State John Merrill out of the race, the establishment lane is wide open for Britt. There is a possibility someone like Rob Riley, son of former Gov. Bob Riley, could entertain a run.
For now, that side of the Republican electorate is Boyd’s to lose, and given she is Shelby’s pick, she will be the well-financed candidate.
Brooks, meanwhile, has several plays none of the other candidates have. He is the Trump candidate.
Donald Trump endorsed Brooks on April 7 — 580 days before Election Day 2022. Unlike the 2020 election cycle, there will be no speculation as to who Trump will back.
Most think Brooks won the Trump endorsement and the GOP nod three days after the 2020 general election when he first proposed formally challenging the Electoral College.
What if Trump were to come back to Alabama on Brooks’ behalf?
Picture this hypothetical scenario: with the USS Alabama in the background, Trump tells a crowd Blanchard is an imposter dining off his name. Any support for her is a vote for Brooks’ more relevant opponent, Britt.
The early back and forth between Brooks and Blanchard is one to keep an eye on only because if it were to escalate — and Blanchard reportedly is financially capable of trying — it becomes a risky proposition for Brooks.
Blanchard has a lot to gain by punching up. Brooks has nothing to gain by punching down.
This page is available to our local subscribers. Click here to join us today and get the latest local news from local reporters written for local readers. The best deal is found by clicking here. Check it out now.