By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Lynda Blanchard, a businesswoman and former ambassador in the Trump administration, on Thursday announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate.
Incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Shelby announced last week he is not seeking a seventh term in 2022, leading to a flurry of speculation about who might run to fill the seat he has occupied for 35 years.
Blanchard, 61, is the first major candidate to announce a Senate run, which she did with a flashy campaign video that sought to firmly align her with former President Donald Trump.
“I’m a proud member of the MAGA movement,” Blanchard says in the video, as she gets in the driver seat of a pickup truck with a well-placed Trump-Pence sticker. “…I’m grateful for the leadership and courage of our 45th president, Donald Trump.”
According to a press release announcing her candidacy, Blanchard wants to focus on border security, lowering taxes for working families, advocating pro-life policies and fighting “cancel culture” by defending free speech.
The Montgomery native and co-founder of the B&M Management real estate investment firm said she is committing $5 million of her own money toward the campaign to show she can be competitive in what will likely be a lively race for the open seat.
In addition to her work in business, Blanchard in 2004 co-founded 100X Development Foundation, which combats child poverty, starvation and orphaning in third world countries. She is a mother of eight, including four grown biological children and four adopted children.
Blanchard was nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate as U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia in 2018, a position she held until January 20 when President Joe Biden took office. Located between Austria and Croatia in the Balkans region of Europe, Slovenia is notably the home country of former First Lady Melania Trump, a fact Blanchard highlights in her campaign video.
Though none others have yet announced, several potential candidates are rumored to be considering a run, including Congressman Mo Brooks, Business Council of Alabama President and CEO Katie Britt and Secretary of State John Merrill.