Mo Brooks, the unabashed white nationalist congressional representative for Alabama’s 5th District, has joined a crowded field of Republicans vying for the US Senate seat that once belonged to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Brooks announced his candidacy this morning on WVNN radio in Huntsville. Fittingly, host Dale Jackson has been a key Tea Party media ally for Brooks ever since he won AL-05’s US House seat in 2010, becoming the first Republican to represent northern Alabama since post-Civil War Reconstruction.
Known nationally for shameless race baiting and his opinion that “people who live good lives” don’t suffer from preexisting health conditions, Brooks will spend the day riding across the state to make four public appearances in Huntsville, Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile.
Besides Luther Strange, the state attorney general that disgraced governor Robert Bentley appointed to fill Sessions’s Senate seat, “State Rep. Ed Henry, former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, businessman Dom Gentile, and Christian Coalition of Alabama President Randy Brinson are all running for Senate already,” Daniel Strauss points out at POLITICO. “Alabama Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh has also taken steps toward running.”
Brooks’ route, according to Alabama political operatives, is to allow Strange and Marsh to duke it out and then make it into a runoff against Moore. In that situation, Brooks would appeal to former supporters of every other candidate as the preferable candidate to Moore, who has a significant following in the state but is still viewed skeptically nationally.
In an attempt to clear the field for Strange, the National Republican Senatorial Committee warned consulting firms they would treat him as an incumbent and refuse to work with any shop that supported a challenger. Indeed, a spokesman for a major Republican PAC immediately responded to the Brooks announcement with derision:
“While Luther Strange was cleaning up the corruption in Montgomery, Mo Brooks was living the life of a Washington insider, opposing Donald Trump and failing to get a single bill signed into law in four terms in the House,” Senate Leadership Fund spokesman Chris Pack said in a statement. “If Brooks can’t cut it in the House, how can he be trusted to deliver results in the U.S. Senate?
“It’s clear Mo Brooks is more interested in advancing his own career than he is with delivering for Alabama,” the statement added.
As a resident of AL-05, that criticism of Brooks is funny to me because it’s almost true. Being a “principled conservative” who believes in governing as little as possible and in the most tight-fisted manner, yes, Mo Brooks has achieved precisely squat for the residents of his district. It’s exactly what his Tea Party fanatics voted for, and they got what they wanted.
But “Washington insider”? That doesn’t describe Mo Brooks at all. It’s the sort of idiotic attack line that only a Washington insider would think to say.
In fact, the rest of Pack’s statement is hilarious because it’s a lie no one living in Alabama will believe. Luther Strange was not “cleaning up corruption” in Montgomery when he got in the way of impeaching Robert Bentley, or when Bentley thanked him with an appointment to the newly-open Senate seat.
Plenty of people are still plenty mad about that transparent act of political horse-trading, though it remains to be seen whether Strange will pay an electoral price.
Mo Brooks: The Washington Swamp Crittters wouldn’t be attacking me already if I wasn’t a threat. #alpolitics
— Dale Jackson (@TheDaleJackson) May 15, 2017
McConnell’s super PAC comes out firing at Mo Brooks in #alsen: “Mo Brooks was living the life of a Washington insider.”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 15, 2017
Your takeaway from this announcement is that the Republican side of Alabama’s special US Senate election on December 12 will be brutal, slimy, and nasty — all in the best political traditions we have here in the Heart of Dixie — with a clueless national party pushing its favored candidate while the right wing extremists squabble over the question of who hates gay marriages the most.
Should be fun.
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