Congressman Mo Brooks to enter Alabama’s U.S. Senate race, field growing

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, who represents Huntsville and much of North Alabama, will formally announce his entry into the race for the U.S. Senate seat previously held by Jeff Sessions.

Qualifying for candidates to run in the special election ends Wednesday It is expected to be a crowded field, with Brooks among the four candidates who will stand out, says WHNT News 19 political analyst Jess Brown.

Brooks' office said he will make his candidate announcement in Huntsville at 11 a.m. Monday, with the location to be determined. Announcements in Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile are also planned for Monday.

The seat is currently held by Luther Strange and Strange is among the announced Republican candidates in the field.

Another well-known name in the field is Roy Moore, the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

Brown had predicted Brooks' entry into the race and he also expects Anniston-based Alabama Sen. Del Marsh, the president of the state Senate, to enter the fray.

Others who've announced their plans to run in the Republican primary, or who have already qualified, include Hartselle-area Alabama Rep. Ed Henry, Alabama Christian Coalition President Randy Brinson and Hoover-area business owner Dom Gentile.

The winner of the race will hold the seat until 2020, then it will be up for a six-year term.

Political analyst Jess Brown said at this point none of the expected front-runners Strange, Moore, Brooks or Marsh could capture 50 percent of the Republican vote, so they all have work to do.

He said Strange, whose future appeared very bright two years ago while serving as attorney general, will face criticism over his appointment to the seat by then-Gov. Robert Bentley. Strange's office was investigating Bentley at the time of the appointment. Bentley resigned last month after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations.

Brown said Moore, who was suspended last year from the bench and resigned the seat last month, has the most loyal core of supporters, but Brown said Moore's challenge will be in expanding the base necessary to win.

Brooks has more than $1 million in his campaign fund and Brown said Brooks is the best candidate in the field at forcefully addressing issues Republican voters care about.

Marsh is the wealthiest candidate in the field, Brown said, and is best positioned to raise money around the state, given his role in the Alabama Senate.

Brown said Strange could also face a backlash from populist Alabama voters because he's receiving strong financial support from the Senate Leadership Political Action Committee effectively controlled by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a dark money 501(c)4, political group.

The Democratic and Republican primaries will be Aug. 15. Runoff elections, if needed, will be held Sept. 26 and the general election will be held Dec. 12.