GOP candidate Clayton Hinchman wants to debate U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks before June 5 primary


Clayton Hinchman announcing his run for Congress at the Madison County Veterans Memorial, Wednesday, May 17, 2017.

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Four-term incumbent Congressman Mo Brooks is facing a primary challenge from U.S. Army veteran Clayton Hinchman, who recently loaned his campaign $100,000 and is calling for a series of debates with Brooks.

Hinchman is facing an uphill battle.

Historically incumbents enjoy a better than 95 percent reelection rate.

Hinchman, who lost a leg during a night raid in Iraq, says he is undeterred by the odds.

“Clayton Hinchman is a problem solver,” he told WHNT News 19 Wednesday. “And I’m willing to stand up and fight the good fight. I fought in combat against al Qaeda, I fought and ran a small business. So, any time I see a problem, I’m going to tackle that problem head-on, and right now Washington has a lot of problems.”

Hinchman said the outspoken Brooks is quick to assign blame to problems, but he says he prefers to focus on solutions. He’s called on Brooks to take part in five, saying there should be one for each county in the 5th Congressional district.

“Right now, as we’ve received feedback from all of North Alabama is the fact that people don’t feel like they’re being listened to,” Hinchman said. “I know that my opponent is going to ignore me, and act like we’re not a real opponent, we’re not a real candidate. But we’ve been out talking to the people, and the people want to hear real solutions.”

Brooks has $690,000 cash on hand, according to campaign finance reports filed this week. Hinchman is well below that mark, with about $94,000 on hand.

Hinchman has loaned his campaign $100,000. He said the loan was to signal to other donors his belief in his campaign and his chances.

“So that’s why I made that investment into our campaign, because people needed to see that I wasn’t all talk, that we were willing to invest,” he said.

Brooks’ campaign told WHNT News 19 in an email Wednesday that it was declining to comment, at this time, on any of Hinchman’s comments, “whether they be false negative attacks or debate offers.”