HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Roughly a year out from the primary, three Republican U.S. Senate hopefuls have hit the campaign trail, hoping to replace Senator Richard Shelby in 2022. The current candidates, Congressman Mo Brooks, Senator Shelby’s former Chief of Staff Katie Britt and former US Ambassador to Slovenia, Lynda Blanchard all have some kind of political experience.
However, Blanchard says she is true outsider.
“I’m definitely the only outsider in this race. I’m not beholding to anyone,” said Blanchard.
News 19 asked Blanchard what she worked on as Ambassador to Slovenia.
“We did the America First Initiative abroad. In Europe that focuses on certainly NATO 2 percent to get the burden off taxpayers here in the United States. Then also energy diversification and independence,” said Blanchard.
NATO 2 percent refers to commitments by member nations to spend 2 percent of their Gross Domestic Product on defense. Blanchard says she made sure to visit Redstone Arsenal to promote North Alabama and America.
“I came back to buy Alabama products to encourage them (Redstone) to reach out to other NATO partners,” said Blanchard.
Born in Alabama, Blanchard earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics, with a minor in computer science from Auburn. Blanchard founded an international non-profit and a real-estate business before being appointed Ambassador to Slovenia.
Blanchard says her embassy was not used to being lead by a non-career politician and she loved the challenge.
As for her opponents, Blanchard stopped short of commenting much on camera. However, she does want people to take a look at all her opponents’ records.
“Look up his (Mo Brooks) record and read the black and white,” said Blanchard.
In campaign emails, Blanchard says Brooks takes campaign donations from “Woke” companies he condemns in public. Brooks has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Blanchard was skipped over despite working for Trump and launching her campaign before Brooks.
“I was still working in Slovenia as Ambassador. He (Trump) had made a prior commitment after January 6th. You have to admit when President Trump makes a commitment, that’s why he got so much done, he sticks to it,” said Blanchard.
With a year of campaigning ahead, Blanchard says interest by voters as well as donors seems to be stagnant. Blanchard says America is getting out and doing things and, in her opinion, people may be fatigued from the last election.
The Alabama GOP expects more candidates to join the race. So far two of the three candidates are women. Alabama has never elected a woman to the United States Senate. Blanchard says she hasn’t really thought of that and thinks the best candidate should always be picked.
Blanchard and Katie Britt have both said they would be open to a debate. Mo Brooks also has expressed interest but under unspecified conditions.