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In a video obtained by 1819 News, Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Mike Durant denounced the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump PAC led by Florida-based consultant Rick Wilson and political strategist Reed Galen.

The video shows Durant saying he was not sure what the Lincoln Project was before offering the denunciation.

"[I] honestly don't really know what the Lincoln Project is," Durant said. "I have no association with it. I denounce it, whatever I need to do. I'm pro-Trump. I always have been. I voted for him in 2016 and 2020.

“They’ve had similar ads … that they’ve aired on TV that [say] the Lincoln project is involved in my campaign. [It’s] so patently false, and we can prove it, they had to pull it down. This is the thing they are doing to me to defeat me because I’m the outsider. I’m a person that isn’t reaching into somebody else’s pocket. … I hope everyone can see through it.”

Durant made the comments while appearing at a political gathering Thursday in Phenix City. Alabama RINO PAC launched the TV ad Durant referenced in April. The Alabama RINO PAC later pulled the ad.

Durant recently came under fire from his opponents for not responding to a tracker, a person typically employed by a competing campaign whose job it is to follow the opposing side's candidate and record what they do and say in hope of gathering information about that candidate that might make people less willing to vote for them. This particular tracker has been present at Durant appearances, and Durant ignored him when he asked Durant why he would not denounce the Lincoln Project.

The Lincoln Project is an organization launched to defeat Trump and end what the Project called “Trumpism.”

Both U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) and former Business Council of Alabama President and CEO Katie Britt, who are running against Durant, questioned Durant's lack of a response at the time.

Durant said the attacks have come because he jumped into the lead – according to several polls – too quickly.

“I almost wish I hadn’t gotten into the lead that quick,” he said. “Because through that, all the ridiculous stuff started coming out.”

Durant said because of what has happened to him in this campaign, he understood how former President Donald Trump came up with the term “fake news.”

“One of the biggest ones … what got this started was an opinion paper that was written by an opinion guy who can say anything he wants,’’ Durant said. “He can say I’m from outer space if he wanted to. What’s really troubling is it gained traction with [other] people around the state. They should have recognized that it’s not factual and not push it forward, but they didn’t.

“In one article, he said I lived in Maryland. That’s pretty easy to prove [that] I don’t live in Maryland. I have a voting record here; I have my business here, my kids went to school here, he can talk to my neighbors – it’s not hard to prove that’s absolutely false. I can’t do anything about it.

“You wonder why President Trump coined the phrase ‘fake news?’” Durant continued. “I’m with him. I’m absolutely with him. No doubt about it. All I can do is apologize on behalf of my opponents because we’re not doing it [and] they are.”

Durant took a number of questions from the audience, including regarding the allegation that he is against the Second Amendment by using a speech he made at the War College.

“So they have a video,’’ he said. “I’m actually doing a presentation [on] Somalia, which happened 30 years ago. I’ve talked about Somalia a thousand times, to law enforcement, military, schools, inmates – everybody.

“That video is from 11 years ago, at the [National] War College. I’m talking about Mogadishu, when I said first step was disarm the population. You’ve seen films of guys riding around in pick-up trucks with weapons. That’s what it was…

“That’s how desperate they are. They are saying that means I’m against the Second Amendment. I am absolutely not. I’m frustrated with [those ads]. … I’ve had firearms my whole life. I’m a military guy… I’ve probably fired more rounds than everyone else in the campaign combined. So it’s complete – I don’t want to use the word I want to use – but it’s very frustrating. Just plain lies.

“There’s not much I can do. I can’t follow every one of those with a factual correction. It’s really unfortunate, but I believe voters can see through it.”

Alabama Republican voters will have an opportunity to select their preference for the November ballot in the May 24th GOP primary.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email Ray.Melick@1819news.com.

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