The Eagle Forum hosted an event Tuesday in which candidates from all over Alabama could come and talk to potential voters. The candidate fair hosted over 30 individuals running for various offices across the state in order to allow citizens to meet the candidates and ask questions.
The event had appearances from three prominent gubernatorial candidates, Lindy Blanchard, Dean Odle and Lew Burdette.
Blanchard has been running a neck and neck race against Tim James, who could not attend the event because of a previous engagement. The two are in a tight race for second place behind the significant lead of incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey.
According to Blanchard, she was pleased with the recently adjourned legislative session but was displeased that there had been several issues that never made it to Ivey's desk. Blanchard also criticized Ivey's statement in which she said that her biggest regret in the session was that gambling legislation had not passed the legislature.
"[Gambling] wouldn't have been first on my list," Blanchard said. “I think I would have gotten rid of Common Core; we have the gas tax and the grocery tax. So yeah, [gambling] wouldn't have been first on my list. I mean, [Ivey] did roll back the business privilege tax; she cut it in half, but I would have just gotten rid of it."
Odle told 1819 News that he was confident in his campaign's work ethic, despite his opponent's apparent financial advantage.
“The only thing I know that's a problem for us is our opponents have millions of dollars, so they're bombarding the airwaves more than we can,” Odle said. “We are doing it. We just can't do it as much as they can. But I can tell you this much, none of them have traveled 50,000 miles since the start of this thing, and none of them have been to as many meetings as I have. I know that on May 24, we're going to be right there in it.”
Burdette also believes that the financial advantage of his opponents will not affect the final polls.
"In the polls, we have a 25% undecided, and our commercial just dropped today," Burdette told 1819 News. "So, these guys have already been running their commercials, and people are still undecided. So, when they see me, they're going to say, 'That's my guy."
Of the three leading candidates for Alabama's soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat, only one attended the event. Congressman Mo Brooks is running for the Senate seat currently occupied by Richard Shelby, who will retire after this term.
Brooks said that he is feeling good about the campaign. Brooks came in third in the latest polls, trailing behind Mike Durant and Katie Britt in a tight three-way race.
"I'm feeling very good," Brooks said. "We're on the upswing. If we get the truth out, we win. The challenge is getting the truth out.
"We're 35 days away from the [primary] election. There's a lot at stake. You have three different candidates. I'm the principled conservative. You have Katie Britt, who is the special interest group, Mitch McConnell, establishment candidate; then you have what we call the 'Trojan horse candidate,' who is Mike Durant, and he is the Lincoln Project, far left-wing candidate."
Brooks also addressed the controversy surrounding his campaign co-chair Stan McDonald, when McDonald claimed he didn't believe Durant was "right in the head." Brooks rejected a common interpretation of McDonald's words that claimed he was referencing Durant's experience with PTSD.
According to Brooks, McDonald's words referred to statements made by Durant in which he addressed disarming the public as a method of instilling law and order.
"When someone comes out for disarming the American people in order to support law and order, or when someone comes out in support of red flag laws - if that's not a part of your brain's thinking process, where does it originate?" Brooks said. "In Alabama, we believe in the Second Amendment right to bear arms, and we would never talk about disarming the population, as he has given in his speeches."
Brooks also claimed that Durant had previously supported "red flag laws," which Brooks believes will allow the government to remove a person's right to bear arms without due process.
"That's a lot of different thinking than what Alabamians believe about the Second Amendment, and that didn't originate in his foot," Brooks said.
Durant's helicopter was shot down in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993. The injured Durant was captured and held prisoner for 11 days.
In a speech before U.S Army War College, Durant addressed the tactics used in Somalia during his deployment and referenced disarmament as a tool used to restore law and order. After transcripts of the speech became public, Durant claimed his words were mischaracterized, as he was not arguing for the practice but against it.
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