HOOVER, Ala. (WHNT) — Huntsville businessman and former prisoner of war Mike Durant has faced heavy criticism in recent days for not committing to debating his rivals in Alabama’s GOP primary for U.S. Senate.
On Thursday night in Hoover, that changed as News 19 spoke with the frontrunner during a meet-and-greet hosted by the conservative group, “Local Alabama.”
“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.”
With just 32 days until the Alabama primary election, candidates in the race continue their campaigns, airing ads and making appearances across the state. 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.
According to AL.com, Durant has garnered a lot of support during his campaign and raised the most money. Though that hasn’t shielded him from criticism from his opponents – U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks and former Business Council of Alabama President and CEO Katie Britt – who have both agreed to participate in a televised debate organized by the Alabama Republican Party.
Britt, though, says her commitment to debate on stage is conditional on Durant’s participation.
Campaign finance reports show the Durant campaign fundraising has reached a total of $7.3 million, but $6.8 of that was loaned by Durant himself.
“You know, I got in late because I had a company, and I wanted to make sure that was taken care of before I committed to this,” said Durant. “I’m not a politician. I didn’t have the knowledge about fundraising – and getting in late puts you a bit behind on the power curve, so I had to put skin in the game.”
If elected, Durant promises to prioritize a secure southern border, energy independence and a strong military.
The Durant campaign has yet to officially commit to a debate with his GOP opponents. Durant says moving forward he intends to travel the state, make more appearances, and meet with voters.