5 GOP Senate contenders appear at Vestavia Hills candidate forum

Senate candidates (from third to l.) Mo Brooks, Dom Gentile, Randy Brinson, Trip Pittman and James Beretta. Photo via Facebook.

Five Republican Senate hopefuls appeared before the Mid-Alabama Republican Club for a meet-the-candidate event Saturday.

As reported by AL.com, two of the leading candidates onstage — Congressman Mo Brooks and state Sen. Trip Pittman — took pains to point out their private sector experience in an attempt to distance themselves from the ‘career politician’ marker.

“My primary source of income has always been in the private sector,” Brooks said, noting his law firm and time as general counsel for a distributor of roofing, siding, and windows, the largest in the nation.

Brooks also referred to his ranking by conservative groups such as the anti-tax Club for Growth, Heritage Foundation and the immigration reduction group Numbers USA.

“Every candidate talks the talk,” Brooks told the crowd. “It’s more important to walk the walk.”

Brooks also pointed out a list of endorsements from conservative talk show hosts Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and Laura Ingraham, and his success in stopping the so-called Gang of Eight immigration reform effort in 2013.

In an email this week, Brooks also received the endorsement of North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows, chair of the House Freedom Caucus.

Pittman’s started his business in 1988, as well as standing for the state’s Gulf Coast in Montgomery. After a plane crash a decade ago, Pittman turned to public service.

“It’s been a great challenge,” Pittman said. “But we have been successful in what we’ve been able to do in moving Alabama forward.”

Pittman also discussed his time as chair of the Senate Budget Committee.

“I understand the process. The process is important,” Pittman said, adding that whoever wins the Special Election to replace former Sen. Jeff Sessions should someone “willing to take staunch philosophical positions.

“This is the best opportunity you have to elect someone with good ideology,” he said.

Also at the forum were Hoover businessperson Dom Gentile, Alabama Christian Coalition head Randy Brinson, and Pelham physician James Beretta. Candidates who did not attend Saturday’s forum are scheduled to visit the Mid-Alabama Republican Club’s next meeting July 8.