GOP Rep. Brooks enters Alabama Senate race

Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksOvernight Defense: Senate confirms US military’s first African American service chief | Navy to ban display of Confederate flags | GOP lawmakers urge Trump not to cut troops in Germany Republicans urge Trump to reject slashing US troop presence in Germany Conservative lawmakers press Trump to suspend guest worker programs for a year MORE (R-Ala.) is jumping into the special election for Alabama’s Senate seat, setting up a primary battle with the GOP’s pick for the seat.

Brooks will officially announce his candidacy Monday during a speech in Huntsville before barnstorming the state with events in Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile.

“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,” he said in a statement.

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Brooks, an outspoken member of Congress who has been active in state politics since the 1980s, won his House seat in the 2010 GOP wave. 

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Brooks will face off in the Aug. 15 primary with Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.), the former state attorney general appointed to the seat by then-Gov. Robert Bentley (R) earlier this year.

Strange got the seat after Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMcCabe, Rosenstein spar over Russia probe Rosenstein takes fire from Republicans in heated testimony Rosenstein defends Mueller appointment, role on surveillance warrants MORE vacated it to become President Trump’s attorney general. The GOP establishment has made it clear that Strange will have the party’s full backing.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has confirmed it will be treating Strange as an incumbent, giving him strong reinforcements out of Washington. The move causes complications for his opponents, since the NRSC doesn’t work with vendors that take clients challenging its incumbents. 

And the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC with ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote GOP senator to try to reverse requirement that Pentagon remove Confederate names from bases No, ‘blue states’ do not bail out ‘red states’ MORE (R-Ky.), last week announced a $2.6 million television buy to boost Strange’s bid.

But Strange could face pushback from opponents in the state because of his appointment. Bentley has since resigned due to a growing sex scandal. 

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, who was suspended for encouraging lower courts to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, is also running in the Republican primary. A handful of other prominent local Republicans are considering bids, including state Sen. Del Marsh, one of the top Republicans in the state Senate. 

The August primary is expected to serve as the de facto election, given the GOP’s dominance in the state. The general election is in December.

Whoever is elected will win the right to finish out Sessions’s term, which expires in 2020.