ALABAMA (WHNT) — Recent polls have shown Mike Durant leading his opponents in the U.S. Senate race. Durant’s success in the polls and relative lack of visibility in local media, has left him open to criticism from his opponents Katie Britt and Rep. Mo Brooks.
Durant has yet to formally agree to a statewide debate. During a campaign appearance in Birmingham on Thursday, News 19 asked Durant if he would be willing to join Britt and Brooks on the debate stage prior to the May 24 primary election.
“We’re fine with debates,” Durant said. “We’ve got a schedule that was laid out, but if we could fit it in, we’d be glad to do it…it’s not scheduled right now, but my team is in conversations with everybody that wants to do it.”
Alabama Republican Chairman John Wahl told News 19 earlier this week, “I have not gotten confirmation for Durant to participate in a statewide debate and there is conflicting information about it.”
Both Britt and Brooks have expressed their interest in a debate, but the Britt campaign said her participation is contingent on Durant’s agreement to appear. In the wake of Durant’s Thursday comments, the rival campaigns have renewed their criticism.
“Mike Durant should just come out and admit the truth: he’s still waiting on his liberal, anti-Trump Big Tech backers in California to let him know if they’ll allow him to participate in a debate,” said Sean Ross. “Mike Durant must figure it’s easier to hide out at his mansion in Colorado than face his fear of debating Katie Britt. Various TV networks, the Alabama Republican Party, and local Republican clubs throughout the state have been trying to organize various debates and forums for months, with one common theme: silence from Mike Durant. It’s sad that Mike Durant expects people to believe that he’s ghosted all of these proposed events because of his schedule — the guy has been a ghost on the campaign trail, as well.”Britt campaign spokesman Sean Ross
The Brooks campaign is also critical of Durant’s current lack of commitment.
“Mo Brooks believes that anyone seeking public office should be willing to show up and answer questions from voters. It’s why he’s held over 50 townhall events on his Fire McConnell Townhall Tour in every corner of the state, with many more to come before the primary. It’s clear that some of his opponents do not feel the same way about answering to voters. Both Mike Durant and Katie Britt are terrified that the people will learn about their records and all the liberal positions they’ve publicly held. Mo Brooks is proud of his conservative record, and is willing to debate anybody. If Mike Durant is sincere about being ready to face the voters and quit the Hidin’ Joe Biden approach, then he’ll find a way to make a debate work. He knows where to find us.”Brooks campaign spokesman Will Hampson
Durant announced his run for Senate in October of last year, months after Brooks and Britt began their campaigns in March and June respectively.
“I got in late because you know I had a company, and I wanted to make that was taken care of before I committed to this,” Durant said.
Campaign finance reports show that the Durant campaign is worth more than $7 million dollars, but $6.8 million of that total has been contributed by Durant himself.
“I’m not a politician, and I didn’t have the knowledge about fundraising,” Durant said. “Getting in late puts you behind the power curve, so I had to put skin in the game.”
Compared to his opponents, who regularly announce campaign events, Durant’s campaign has been quieter about his appearances. According to his team, Durant has been on the road, making stops in towns including Mobile, Birmingham, and Athens.
“I’ve been all over the state really since the campaign began because that’s what’s important,” Durant said. “I have to understand what the issues are from a voter perspective. I know them, but I really want to reaffirm the position of people all over the state, and it is a big state.”
Moving forward in his campaign, Durant said he wants to increase his face-to-face interactions with voters.