GOP firebrand and Trump supporter Rep. Mo Brooks enters Alabama Senate race

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A conservative firebrand and staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump who came under fire for remarks preceding the attack on the U.S. Capitol has joined the Alabama GOP primary field to replace Sen. Richard Shelby.

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks announced his entry into the race Monday night. Brooks joins former Trump ambassador Lynda Blanchard in the GOP primary, which is expected to attract a number of other hopefuls. Shelby announced earlier this year that he wouldn’t seek reelection in 2022.

Brooks has been criticized, and two House Democrats have proposed he be censured by Congress for his fiery speech at the pro-Trump rally before the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

“Today is the day that American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass,” Brooks said at the Save America rally. Brooks has said his remarks were only intended as a pep talk for the next election cycle and that critics have misrepresented them.

Brooks said Stephen Miller, who was Trump’s top immigration policy adviser, would be his special guest at the “Campaign Rally and Announcement,” held at a Huntsville gun range.

Miller was an influential force in pushing Trump’s efforts to curb immigration. He engineered the former president’s Muslim travel ban and was widely viewed as the driving force behind the Trump administration’s hardest-line immigration policies.

Shelby said earlier this year that he would not seek reelection in 2022. His announcement is expected to give way to a messy GOP primary at a time when the national Republican Party is trying to chart a direction following Trump’s departure from office.

The only announced candidate in the developing Senate race is Lynda Blanchard, Trump’s former ambassador to Slovenia. Blanchard has cast herself as a staunch defender of Trump’s legacy. In an effort to deter other candidates, Blanchard made a $3 million commitment for television airtime leading up to the May 24, 2022, primary.

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