By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Lynda Blanchard, the former U.S. Ambassador and current candidate for the U.S. Senate, will officially switch races and announce her candidacy for governor on Tuesday, Alabama Daily News has learned.
Sources with knowledge of Blanchard’s plans say the event will take place in Wetumpka, the small town north of Montgomery where she was born and raised.
An email obtained by Alabama Daily News inviting guests to the event shows Wetumpka’s historic Bibb Graves Bridge and lists the Jeanette Barrett Civic Room as the location for the announcement. The invitation also lists “Lindy Blanchard for Governor” as the entity paying for the campaign materials.
Reached by email Monday, Blanchard declined to preview her speech, simply saying “I am excited and I look forward to Tuesday. I certainly hope to see you there.”
In her Senate campaign, Blanchard had gone by her full name of Lynda, but the updated materials show her going by Lindy, as she is commonly known by friends and family.
The updated materials are not the only makeovers happening to the Blanchard campaign. Sources tell Alabama Daily News that a new consultant and campaign staff are coming on board as well.
Susie Wiles, a Florida-based political consultant with close ties to former President Donald Trump, will be the lead consultant on the race. Wiles’ status in Trump world is partly why so many have speculated that an endorsement from the former president could be coming Tuesday or soon thereafter.
However, Alabama Daily News / Inside Alabama Politics has previously reported that, while Blanchard has sought Trump’s endorsement for governor in two separate meetings, Trump told her she would first need to show she can compete against incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey before he lent his name to her candidacy.
For her part, Ivey is playing up her own Trump bonafides in a new television campaign ad that ran during the SEC Championship game. In the ad, Ivey is pictured with Trump as he arrived to Alabama in his plane, gifting him a putter and shaking his hand.
Blanchard will join Tim James, Dean Odle, Robert Burdette, and Stacy George in challenging Ivey in the GOP Primary. State Auditor Jim Zeigler is also considering a run.
Several sources have told ADN that Blanchard has conducted extensive polling of the governor’s race, including message tests for possible lines of attack on Ivey.
In the ADN/Cygnal poll taken in August, Ivey led a hypothetical ballot test for governor with more than 40% of the vote, while more than a third of the GOP electorate remained undecided. Blanchard was not included in that ballot test as she was running for Senate at the time. The same survey included a ballot test for the Senate race that showed Blanchard was the choice of just 1.6% of GOP voters.
If the Republican primary election for Governor were held today, and you had to make a choice, who would you vote for?
If the Republican primary election for U.S. Senate were held today, and you had to make a choice, who would you vote for?