In run for Senate, Brooks touts conservative firebrand record

In run for Senate, Brooks touts conservative firebrand record

By MADDISON BOOTH and TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Elected to public office 14 times — from the Madison County Commission to the State Legislature to the U.S. House — Mo Brooks has been a conservative mainstay in Alabama for decades.

But he’s not yet been able to translate his unique appeal in north Alabama into statewide office, having come up short in Republican primaries for lieutenant governor in 2006 and U.S. Senate in 2017.

He hopes the third time is the charm this year as he again campaigns for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.

“I would say I am the only conservative in this race,” Brooks said in an interview with Alabama Daily News, pointing to his track record to prove it. 

A graduate of Duke University and the University of Alabama School of Law, Brooks has served as an assistant district attorney in Tuscaloosa, the Madison County District Attorney and twice as special assistant to the attorney general, a background which has helped the Huntsville native gain and maintain notoriety.

Brooks said his continuous reelections are because he has proven to his constituents repeatedly that he shares in their values. He consistently opposed tax increases, been a fierce critic of what he deems lax immigration policies, and, in a more recent turn, was one of the premiere voices in attempting to stop the certification of the 2020 election due to unproven claims of fraud.

He was among the first to advocate for blocking Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election on the debunked claim that mass election fraud tilted the election toward Joe Biden and away from Donald Trump. He also spoke at the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the Capitol riot, telling the crowd “Today is the day that American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.”

Brooks has been subpoenaed by the congressional committee investigating the attack on the Capitol, but he has not yet agreed to testify.

That firebrand record is what he’s selling to Republican voters on the campaign trail, though his journey has been anything but steady in the race for U.S. Senate. 

He began the race more than a year ago as the clear frontrunner, and polls as far back as August showed him with a more than 20 point lead on the nearest competition. However, by March his lead had eroded completely after a barrage of negative attack ads from outside political groups.

Despite Brooks’ avid support of former President Donald Trump and trumpeting his tag lines like “Drain the Swamp” and “Build the Wall,” Trump withdrew his endorsement of Brooks’ in March after the Huntsville congressman slipped in the polls. Trump claimed his endorsement switch was due to Brooks telling a Cullman Trump rally to focus on the future instead of dwelling on the 2020 election.

Brooks still maintains, however, that election fraud is one of the big issues facing the country today. 

”We have to do everything possible to restore confidence in America’s election system,” Brooks said, later referencing the 2020 election. In the Senate, he said he would aim to pass legislation to prevent voter fraud.

Brooks said that he and his campaign team aren’t focused on any particular endorsement, though, and that his poll numbers have actually improved since losing Trump’s. Indeed, Brooks gained ground in the most recent Alabama Daily News/Gray Television poll with 22.5% of the likely Republican vote, up six points from the same poll in March. 

CandidateMay 2022March 2022August 2021
Katie Britt32.0%28.4%17.7%
Mo Brooks22.5%16.1%40.8%
Mike Durant21.4%34.6%-
Someone else8.5%6.5%-
Undecided15.5%14.4%31.8%

Instead, he is keeping his eyes locked on the real issues Americans are facing today, such as inflation and gas prices. 

Having worked on so many national policy issues during his time in Congress, Brooks found it difficult to list just three priority issues he would like to address if chosen as Alabama’s next U.S. Senator. Instead, he said broadly that he wants to protect the principles laid out in the Constitution and fight for the triumph of moral values, like the right to life for the unborn, over what he sees as amoral ones.

“It seems like every single foundational principle that has made America the greatest nation in world history….every single one of them is under attack by the Left,” Brooks said. Some of the most important principles in Brooks’ eyes are those listed in the Bill of Rights, namely, freedom of speech and the right to bear arms.

The 10th Amendment is another principle Brooks wants to see protected. He believes that the founders’ intent was to leave certain issues to city, county and state governments. Therefore, as a U.S. senator, Brooks would strive to take on more national issues. 

“I’m one that believes a rising tide lifts all boats, and a receding tide lowers all boats,” he said. “So as America does well, Alabama will do well.”

One issue that the congressman wishes to see left state government is education. Brooks said that he supports dissolving the U.S. Department of Education and allowing states to create their own education mandates. He is not opposed to the federal government granting education aid to states, but said that its mandates are often more harmful than helpful for students. 

In the House of Representatives, Brooks serves on the Armed Services Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee, and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Though he has enjoyed his time in public office, being in the Senate was never on his “bucket list.”

Brooks said he suspected back in 2017 that Sen. Richard Shelby would not run for re-election, so he saw the opportunity arising but didn’t set his mind on running immediately.

He sees the Senate as an opportunity to continue to support the same ideals and policies he has in his past political career, but also as a role that allows him a greater ability and capacity to advance issues important to him. 

“I will serve if the people want me to serve,” Brooks said. If not, he intends to continue to “enjoy life” with his wife, Martha, and their four children and many grandchildren.