Since Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) made the decision to enter the Senate special primary, only to fail to make the run-off, two serious 2018 Republican congressional challengers for the seat the Congressman was willing to eschew for the statewide office have come forward. During the Senate campaign, businessman Clayton Hinchman, an individual with strong ties to the Mitch McConnell political operation (a group that was actively opposing Brooks in the Senate race), announced his congressional candidacy. Yesterday, state Sen. Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison) followed suit.
The new multi-candidate field, with each man having the ability to run a strong campaign, brings into play the possibility that none will attain majority status in the primary election, thus mandating a secondary run-off contest under Alabama election law. The 5th District is safely Republican, so the real battle here is for the GOP nomination. The June 5, 2018 primary along with a run-off to potentially follow twelve days later will be the factor determining which man advances to the general election and claims the seat. Because the 5th District electorate will be key in deciding the special US Senate run-off, a potential Brooks endorsement for one of the candidates will become a major development.
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