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Katie Britt wins tumultuous Alabama Senate race muddied by Trump

Policy

The 40-year-old beat six-term Rep. Mo Brooks after Trump rescinded his initial endorsement of Brooks.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Katie Britt celebrates with her family after securing the nomination in a runoff against Mo Brooks Tuesday, June 21 in Montgomery, Alabama. Butch Dill/AP Photo

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Katie Britt won the Republican Senate nomination in Alabama on Tuesday, beating six-term Rep. Mo Brooks in a runoff after former President Donald Trump took the unusual step of rescinding her initial endorsement by Brooks.

The loss ends a turbulent campaign that pits Brooks, a staunch conservative who has spent more than a decade in Congress, against someone who has never held elected office. Brooks ran under the “MAGA Mo” banner and fully embraced Trump’s campaign lies. But that wasn’t enough for the former president, who initially backed Brooks in the race to replace Britt’s former boss, retired Senator Richard Shelby, but later withdrew his support as Brooks languished in the surveys.

The race was one of a handful of contests held Tuesday amid a primary season that has been shaped by Trump’s efforts to sway the GOP.

By the time Trump backed her earlier this month, Britt was already considered the frontrunner in the race. She emerged as the top voter in the state’s May 24 primary, but narrowly missed the threshold that triggered a runoff. Still, Tuesday’s result gives Trump a victory at a time when his influence on the GOP has come under intense scrutiny.

The former president has had a mixed record of success supporting candidates this election season, helping lift Senate candidates in Pennsylvania and Ohio while floundering elsewhere, particularly in Georgia. Voters in the former Republican stronghold rejected his efforts to unseat the state’s GOP governor and secretary of state, both of whom pushed back on his extraordinary push to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. his troubles in the crucial swing state deepened on Tuesday as two of his endorsed congressional candidates failed in their GOP runoff elections.

In Atlanta’s northern suburbs 6th Ward, emergency physician Rich McCormick beat Trump-backed attorney Jake Evans. And in the 10th district east of Atlanta, trucking company owner Mike Collins defeated Democrat-turned-Republican Vernon Jones.

Trump persuaded Jones to run for the seat and drop his long-running gubernatorial bid to clear the ground for his chosen nominee, former Sen. David Perdue. Perdue lost to Republican Governor Brian Kemp, who endorsed Collins. The seat is vacated by Republican Representative Jody Hice, who also lost his bid to unseat Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, another top Trump target.

Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser won the Democratic nomination for another term, fending off two challengers amid concerns over rising crime and homelessness.

But the Alabama Senate runoff had drawn particular attention because of the drama surrounding Trump’s endorsement and because the winner, who will face Democrat Will Boyd in November, is seen as the state’s overwhelming favorite. republican.

Britt, 40, presented herself as part of a new generation of Tory leaders while disparaging Brooks, 68, as a career politician. If successful in November, Britt will be the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Alabama and one of its youngest members. Former state senators had been named.

“Alabama has spoken. We want new blood. We want fresh blood,” she said at her victory party. “We want someone who will fight for conservative Christian values, who will fight for the liberties and liberties this nation was founded on, and who will fight for the American dream for the next generation and the next generation.”

That argument seemed to resonate with some voters on Tuesday.

“She’s young. She’s smart,” said Carolyn Bowman, 86. “That’s what we need in Congress.”

Brooks, who is known for his bombastic oratorical style, described the race as a battle for the soul of the Republican Party, pitting the “true conservative” wing against members of the GOP establishment. He disparaged Britt, 40, as a RINO – the pejorative GOP meaning “Republican in name only” – and argued he was the only one with a proven conservative record.

A founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, Brooks has a history of party leadership and has made his opposition to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a mainstay of his campaign, embarking on a “Fire McConnell Tour” of town halls.

In his concession speech Tuesday night, Brooks told supporters he respects the race result. But in a sign of the controversial race, he accused voters of being seduced by false ads and praised big donors and “special interest groups” for funding Britt’s campaign.

“We send to Washington, DC, the exact opposite of what we need in the US Senate. But the voters have spoken. They may not have spoken wisely,” he grumbled.

Brooks was initially seen as the frontrunner when he announced his Senate candidacy, and Trump quickly offered his support, rewarding an ally who had been a vocal supporter of Trump’s bogus voter fraud allegations. Brooks voted against certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election and delivered a fiery speech at the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally that preceded the U.S. Capitol insurrection, telling the crowd: ‘Today today is the day patriotic americans start taking names and kicking ass. ”

But their relationship soured as Brooks struggled to gain ground. Trump eventually withdrew his support in March, accusing Brooks – one of the most conservative members of Congress – of ‘waking up’ to saying at a rally it was time to stop pleading the election 2020 presidential.

Brooks fought his way to a second-place finish in the May primary and again tried to convince Trump to back him. But Trump instead threw his support behind Britt 11 days before the runoff she was widely expected to win.

Elsewhere in Virginia, Republicans picked a pair of Trump-aligned congressional candidates to face two of the most vulnerable Democrats in the fall.

In the 2nd Coastal District, State Senator Jen Kiggans won the Republican race to try to unseat Democrat Elaine Luria, a retired Navy commander and Jan. 6 committee member, in the general election. And in central Virginia’s 7th District, Yesli Vega emerged from a field of six competitive candidates to face Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger.

At the polls Tuesday in Virginia Beach, Nanci Eves, 70, said she voted for Kiggans in part because she believes the candidate is best positioned to win in November.

‘We need someone who can beat Elaine Luria,’ said Eves, a retired nurse who lives in Virginia Beach and thinks Democrats have made ‘a mess’ of the country while in office. .

Colvin reported from Washington. Ben Finley in Virginia Beach, Virginia contributed to this report.


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Post expires at 5:50am on Sunday July 3rd, 2022