U.S. Senate candidate Mo Brooks describes strategy for shortened campaign cycle

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The U.S. Senate race in Alabama to fill the seat vacated by now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions has a shorter than usual campaign schedule and has to compete with summer vacation for many state residents.

That means for candidates like Huntsville-area U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, the challenge is how best to shape their statewide profile for voters.

There are 11 Republican candidates in the race, but Brooks told WHNT News 19 this week that the polls are showing three candidates, former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, current U.S. Sen. Luther Strange and Brooks, heading the field.

Given the large number of candidates on the ballot it appears unlikely one candidate will capture 50.1 percent of the vote. So, the first challenge for each candidate is being one of the two top vote-getters.

“I think we’re in very good shape,” Brooks said. “The polling typically has Roy Moore first, Luther Strange second, me in third and then a big gap between myself in third and candidates four through 10.

“But if we can have it a three man race going into the final week or two, I like that position.”

After taking office Gov. Kay Ivey moved the election date up from 2018, leaving candidates just a few months to campaign. Brooks said in his previous races he’s spent months planning before he jumps in, but this is markedly different.

“In this election, the organization for a campaign is unlike what I’ve had in the past, quite frankly because it is so compressed,” Brooks said.

He said all of the candidates in the field are dealing with the condensed schedule and it presents challenges.

The candidates have less time to shape their statewide image and fewer opportunities stand out. So, when Brooks looks at his limited time, he’s focused on increasing his visibility in the rest of Alabama.

“The key is to get South and Middle Alabama to know me as well as the people in the Tennessee Valley do,” he said. “As you may be aware, as a legislator, as a county commissioner and as a congressman, my closest reelection primary or general has been a 30 point victory.”

Brooks said his message is focused on two areas, the fact that in decades of public service he’s never had an ethics complaint filed against him and what calls his “proven record of conservative leadership,” based on the “thousands and thousands” of votes that he’s cast.

The primary is August 15. If a runoff is necessary that will be held Sept. 26 and the general election will be Dec. 12.