Ex-Trump Ambassador Will Switch From Senate to Gov Race in Alabama—Or Run for Nothing Lynda Blanchard on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, in Miami. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)
Alabama businesswoman and philanthropist Lynda Blanchard, who served as Donald Trump’s ambassador to Slovenia, will soon drop out of the Republican primary for U.S. Senator and switch to a challenge to GOP Gov. Kay Ivey — or run for nothing at all.
That’s what a reliable Republican source in Blanchard’s hometown of Montgomery told Newsmax last week. Blanchard, 62, has so far deployed large swatches of her personal fortune on a bid for the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, but was reportedly disappointed when Trump endorsed her primary opponent, Rep. Mo Brooks.
"Lynda and her husband were early Trump supporters in ’16 and she served as ambassador to Melania’s home country," said the source, who requested anonymity. "She badly wanted his endorsement but [Trump] felt he owed Mo for the loyalty he showed after the election [when Brooks said he would object to the electoral vote count of the 2020 election and delivered a fiery speech to pro-Trump marchers as the U.S. Capitol January 6]."
A just-completed Alabama Daily News/Cygnal Poll showed that among likely GOP primary voters, Brooks holds a big lead, 41%, to 18% for former Shelby top aide Katie Britt, former U.S. House candidate Jessica Taylor at 3%, and Blanchard at 2%.
A switch to the gubernatorial race by Blanchard would give Trump-style conservatives a well-funded candidate against the more "establishmentarian" Ivey.
According to Alabama Daily News/Cygnal, Ivey leads the Republican primary field with 42%, followed by State Auditor Jim Ziegler with 9%, and businessman Tim James, son of the late Gov. Fob James who was elected as a Democrat and later as a Republican, with 4%.
Blanchard told reporters she is "praying" about which direction to go.
Changing statewide offices one is seeking is historically "iffy." In 1958, California’s two top Republican office-holders, Gov. Goodwin Knight and Sen. William F. Knowland, tried to "swap" the offices they held and both were badly defeated. In 1977, Minnesota attorney David Durenberger abruptly ended a bid for governor and switched to a Senate race after the death of the late Democrat Sen. Hubert Humphrey. He won handily.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.