‘Black Hawk Down’ pilot Durant enters Alabama Senate race

Politics

FILE – Blackhawk pilot Michael Durant, who was held prisoner in Somalia, is welcomed to the podium during Bonita Springs’ Veterans Day memorial service at Riverside Park in Bonita Springs, Fla., in this Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, file photo. Mike Durant, best known as the helicopter pilot shot down and held prisoner in the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” incident, is joining the U.S. Senate race in Alabama. Durant, now the founder and president of an aerospace company in Huntsville, announced his campaign Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. (Carolina Hidalgo/Naples Daily News via AP, File)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Mike Durant, best known as the helicopter pilot shot down and held prisoner in the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” incident, is joining the U.S. Senate race in Alabama.

Durant, now the founder and president of an aerospace company in Huntsville, announced his campaign Tuesday. He joins a crowded GOP field vying for the Republican nomination to the seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby.

“Between ridiculous vaccine mandates, trillions in spending, and constant assaults on innocent life and the 2nd Amendment, it’s clear that we need to mobilize people from outside of politics to step forward and serve,” Durant said.

Like other Republicans in the race, Durant expressed his admiration for former President Donald Trump.

“President Trump showed us what’s possible when outsiders step forward and take on the insiders and the politicians. I’ve spent my life either in service to my nation or focused on growing a successful business in Alabama. I’m not going to sit idly by while Joe Biden and the career politicians wreck the country I love. I’m signing up for one more tour of duty. I’m running for U.S. Senate,” Durant said.

Durant was piloting one of two Black Hawk helicopters shot down by Somali militiamen in 1993 in the capital of Mogadishu. Television news reports at the time showed dead Americans dragged through the streets of the capital. Other video showed Durant’s bruised face as he was held by captors.

The subsequent rescue attempt was chronicled in the book “Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War” and the 2001 movie “Black Hawk Down.” Durant, who was released after 11 days of captivity, announced his candidacy with a video titled “God Made a Soldier.”

Shelby, 87, announced this year that he wouldn’t seek reelection to the seat he has held since 1987, igniting a messy GOP primary for the Republican nomination.

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, former Business Council of Alabama president Katie Boyd Britt, Trump’s ambassador to Slovenia, Lynda Blanchard, and business owner Jessica Taylor are also seeking the GOP nomination.

Trump has endorsed Brooks in the race. Shelby supports Britt, his former chief of staff.

The primary is May 24.

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