HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks joined the U.S. Senate race in Alabama on Monday, casting himself as the only proven conservative leader in an increasingly crowded race for the seat once held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Brooks, 63, scheduled a series of appearances across the state to announce his candidacy. The first was in Huntsville followed by stops in Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile.
In his written text, the Huntsville Republican portrayed the nation as being at a crossroads.
"I am running for the United States Senate because America's status as the greatest nation in world history is at risk, because Congress is failing the American people by not rising to the challenges America faces, and because I am the only candidate for the Senate who has a record of proven conservative leadership," Brooks said.
The Senate seat vacated by Sessions is currently held by Republican Luther Strange, who was appointed by former Gov. Robert Bentley and is seeking election.
The Senate Leadership Fund, which has ties to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and plans to support Strange with $2.6 million in television commercials, issued a statement saying Brooks has never sponsored a bill that became law.
Other GOP candidates include former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore; state Rep. Ed Henry; Christian Coalition president Randy Brinson; and Birmingham businessman Dom Gentile.
On the Democratic side, former federal prosecutor Doug Jones of Birmingham is running along with medical marijuana activist Ron Crumpton. Party officials said Robert Kennedy Jr. of Mobile also has filed paperwork to seek the seat.
The primary is set for Aug. 15.
Brooks, a former Madison County district attorney and commissioner who also served in the Alabama Legislature, was first elected to Congress in 2010. Federal election records show he has more than $1.1 million in his campaign account.