Lynda Blanchard, a Montgomery native and former U.S. ambassador to Slovenia, on Thursday announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat held by Richard Shelby, who has said he won’t be running for re-election in 2022.
Blanchard, who was appointed ambassador by former President Donald Trump in June 2018, founded a charity called the 100X Development Foundation, which works to help the poor and children, according to its website, and is married to John Blanchard, a Montgomery real estate magnate who co-founded B & M Management, along with his wife.
John Blanchard donated $553,500 to Trump’s inauguration fund under the name Joe D. Blanchard, according to NBC News. In January 2018, the Blanchards donated $250,000 to the Trump Victory Political Action Committee, and wrote four separate checks for $2,700 to Trump’s re-election campaign on the same day, the maximum permitted for individual contributions, according to the news outlet. Lynda Blanchard was nominated ambassador by Trump five months later.
In a video announcing her candidacy, released Thursday, Blanchard describes herself as a Christian, a business-builder, mother of eight children and a “proud member of the MAGA movement.”
Blanchard in the video leans heavily on her support for the twice-impeached former president, climbing into a truck with a Trump-Pence bumper sticker on the back window.
“I’d never thought about serving in public office until President Trump asked me to,” Blanchard says in the video, describing herself as a “true outsider.”
A press release Thursday from Blanchard’s campaign said securing U.S. borders, lowering taxes, protecting religious freedoms, Second Amendment gun rights, abortion restrictions and “the liberty to speak freely without the threat of being ‘canceled’ are among the issues she said will serve as the foundation of her campaign.”
The release states that Blanchard is making an initial $5 million deposit in her Senate campaign committee “to ensure she has the resources necessary to compete for the Republican nomination and win.” Blanchard earned mathematics and computer science degrees from Auburn University, according to the release.
Other Republicans mentioned as possible candidates for Shelby’s seat are Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, Business Council of Alabama President and CEO Katie Boyd Britt and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks.