Christian Coalition head Randy Brinson announces Senate run

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Christian Coalition of Alabama leader Dr. Randy Brinson will be seeking the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate, another in the increasingly crowded field to challenge interim Sen. Luther Strange.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports that Brinson, who also is the head of Redeem the Vote, made the announcement Monday in a Facebook post, saying he had insight into voter frustrations with “the corruption, self-dealing, and venality of politicians at all levels of our government.”

“I am looking forward to working with a pre-eminent campaign team and running a modern, well-funded campaign that will draw a contrast between myself, as a voter advocate and faith leader, and the incumbent, and other career politicians running for this office,” Brinson wrote.

To run for the seat, Brinson added he would resign from both the Christian Coalition and Redeem the Vote.

Brinson’s advantage in the high-profile race is a connection the state’s faith-based community, but also renew questions about ties between the Christian Coalition of Alabama’s connections and the gambling industry.

Brinson founded Redeem the Vote in 2003 to boost turnout among faith-based voters, claiming to have registered 78,000 voters during the 2004 presidential race. Redeem the Vote boasts a substantial mailing list, using it to bolster certain candidates.

In March, the group announced a campaign to bring an “anti-corruption message” against then-Gov. Robert Bentley, who stepped down after a scandal involving an illicit affair, and Strange, who some believe received the Senate post as payment for dropping an investigation against Bentley

“We have a message, it is this: we are not going to take it anymore,” Brinson told reporters at the time.

The Advertiser notes that Brinson became a leader of the Christian Coalition in 2006, after a disagreement between the state and national Christian Coalition. Also, a congressional investigation in 2005 found that the group accepted $850,000 in 2000 from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, who operate casinos in that state, after moving the money through the Washington D.C.-based Americans for Tax Reform.

The Christian Coalition of Alabama, under Brinson’s leadership, supported increased penalties for illegal gambling machines, while limiting electronic bingo to dog tracks in Birmingham and Mobile. Brinson said he was endorsing a bill to keep gambling contained, a move that was criticized by Christian Action Alabama, headed by former CCA director John Giles.

Giles had accused gambling owners, such as Milton McGregor of VictoryLand, of trying to take over the organization.

Brinson later sued Giles to recover old organization assets, a suit that was later dropped.

Republican primaries for the Senate special election are Aug. 15; runoffs, if needed, will be Sept. 26. The general election is scheduled Dec. 12.

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