Whenever you encounter Karla DuPriest, she introduces herself as "your next U.S. Senator," undeterred by polling or the frontrunner status.

She will be on the GOP ballot on May 24 when Alabama Republican voters go to choose who will represent the Republican ticket in the November midterm election.

DuPriest, a former Capitol Hill staffer for U.S. Rep. Richard Nichols (R-Kan.), has been engaged in Republican politics for 32 years and is an active presence in Mobile's Azalea City Republican Women's Club.

The 1979 graduate of Mobile's Williamson High School has a lengthy resume that shows more than her tenure in politics; she also runs a successful catering business, once owned a Sears Authorized Catalog Sales Center and is presently serving as Land Commissioner for Mobile County.

DuPriest will have her work cut out for her if she is to serve in the U.S. Senate. She will have to overcome long odds to make a probable runoff and win that to take on a Democrat opponent.

Friday, DuPriest appeared on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show" and discussed her candidacy.

She revealed herself as a U.S. Senator who would work to maintain the legacy of current U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby who, if elected, she would replace.

"I definitely admire Senator Shelby and everything he has done and the things he has done that will continue to benefit the state of Alabama," she said. "I pray that I can live up to his mantra and be the [senator] that he is as far as helping the state of Alabama."

Included among those things was Shelby's ranking on key committees in the U.S. Senate, which have enabled him to steer federal dollars to his home state.

"Those things make a difference ... when you're talking to other members to be able to negotiate legislation to benefit the state of Alabama and also the United States. But I'm an optimist, and I believe I can do that. I've been there before, and I've worked with people on both sides."

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com.