Former U.S. Ambassador Lynda Blanchard said Thursday she would seek the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, becoming the first declared candidate for the seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby.
Blanchard’s announcement, in a statement and a video posted on YouTube, followed a familiar script for recent Alabama GOP campaigns: a heavy dose of culture war rhetoric; few mentions of specific Alabama policies, and strong support for former President Donald Trump.
“I’m a proud member of the MAGA movement,” Blanchard said in a video announcing her campaign. “Like you, I am grateful for the leadership and courage of our 45th president, Donald Trump.”
Blanchard, 61, also announced that she would make a $5 million deposit into her campaign account, “to ensure she has the resources necessary to compete for the Republican nomination and win.” The move could also be aimed at scaring off potential rivals for the nomination.
Blanchard said in an announcement that the foundation of her campaign would be “securing our nation’s borders, lowering the tax burden on working families, and protecting religious freedoms, Second Amendment gun rights, the lives of the unborn, and the liberty to speak freely without threat of being ‘cancelled.'”
The candidate is a co-founder of the 100X Development Foundation, which partners with programs in the United States and around the world to reduce poverty. Its 2017 990 form, which reported the foundation reported raising $639,462 and spending $632,733, said the foundation “exists to glorify God through the care of orphans and the sharing of the good news of Christ around the world.”
Blanchard served as CEO of the foundation at one point, though she appears to have stepped away from that role.
The candidate and her husband John, a prominent Montgomery real estate developer, have long been prominent financial supporters of the Republican party. According to Federal Election Commission reports, Lynda Blanchard contributed $355,000 to the Trump Victory Fund, and $248,300 to the Republican National Committee at the end of 2019. John Blanchard made a $250,000 contribution to Trump Victory in July of last year and made numerous $10,000 contributions to state parties around the country.
According to NBC News, the couple gave $2.6 million to Republicans between 2015 and 2019, including a $553,000 donation to Trump’s inaugural committee in 2017. Blanchard served as Trump’s ambassador to Slovenia from August 2019 through last month.
Blanchard is unlikely to be alone in the Republican field for U.S. Senate. U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville and Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill are both considering runs. Other potential candidates include Business Council of Alabama President Katie Boyd Britt, a former chief of staff for Richard Shelby, and U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Hoover.
Shelby announced earlier this month he would not seek re-election next year.