Trump seeking to oust Republican Alabama governor over canceled rally: report

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FILE – In this July 29, 2020 file photo, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey speaks during a news conference in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Kim Chandler, File)

(The Hill) – Former President Trump is reportedly looking to oust Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey in her reelection bid next year, blaming her for the cancellation of a rally in the state this summer.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing Trump advisers, that the former president has privately blamed Ivey for the decision to cancel his rally in June, which was supposed to take place at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park.

The former president has reportedly met with Lynda Blanchard, who served as ambassador to Slovenia in his administration, to discuss a potential endorsement if she were to wage a bid for governor.

Blanchard announced in February that she was running for Senate to fill the seat being vacated by Sen. Richard Shelby (R), who announced earlier this year that he would not seek reelection. The two reportedly discussed a potential endorsement if Blanchard were to leave the Senate race and instead run for governor.

Taylor Budowich, the communications director for Trump’s Save America PAC, did not directly respond to reports that Trump is looking to oust Ivey when reached by The Hill, instead calling attention to the “powerful force” of the former president’s endorsement.

“Candidates up and down the ballot and from across the nation are constantly seeking the endorsement of President Donald J. Trump. While we don’t comment on private conversations, the President’s endorsement is unquestionably the most powerful force in American politics and when he endorses candidates, they win,” Budowich said in a statement.

Trump’s scheduled rally at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park was canceled in June after park commission chairman Bill Tunnell said the Republican Party contacted him with concerns that the event would turn into a “partisan political event,” which led to the cancellation of the rally, according to NBC 15 News.

Tunnell said he reached out to the attorney general’s office in late May to ask for an opinion on holding the event but said that it was unable to respond in a timely fashion because of how soon the event was.

The office noted, however, that political events can be held at the park as long as access is “available for all political parties and candidates on an equal basis.”

Some local officials, however, argued that the commission’s decision was marked by anti-Trump bias.

If Trump does back a primary challenge against Ivey, she will join a coalition of GOP lawmakers who are now facing primary challenges after breaking from the former president.

Trump has endorsed former Massachusetts state Rep. Geoff Diehl (R) for governor, after sitting Gov. Charlie Baker (R) frequently criticized the former president and at one point backed his impeachment. Diehl served as co-chairman of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign in Massachusetts.

In Ohio, former Rep. Jim Renacci (R), a close Trump ally, is waging a bid against sitting Gov. Mike DeWine (R), who said the former president is in part responsible for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

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