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Takeaway: Alabama’s Senate race reinforces that with Trump, loyalty often goes in one direction

By Brian Slodysko, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A Republican who was backed by Donald Trump at the last minute won Tuesday in a runoff in the Alabama Senate. But in neighboring Georgia, the former president’s losing streak has grown.

Meanwhile, moderate Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser won her Democratic primary, delivering yet another warning to progressives.

Takeaways from the final round of the midterm primary elections:

LOYALTY IS UNIQUE

Throughout his life in business, entertainment and eventually politics, Trump demanded loyalty from those around him. And over the decades, he’s repeatedly shown he’s less eager to reciprocate.

Rep. Mo Brooks, one of the former president’s staunchest defenders in Congress, felt the sting of that reminder on Tuesday when he lost a runoff for the GOP’s nomination for a U.S. Senate seat. Alabama. Trump initially backed Brooks, but rescinded that endorsement after the campaign got off to a lackluster start. Then, less than two weeks before the second round, Trump backed Katie Britt, a more establishment-oriented candidate in the GOP but whose victory seemed more assured.

Britt is now the prohibitive favorite in the dark red state to succeed retired senator Richard Shelby, for whom she previously worked.

Her victory allows Trump to take credit for the victory, even though he waited until the last minute to support her. And it reinforces the fact that with Trump, loyalty often goes one way.

On paper, Brooks ticked all the boxes Trump was looking for. He implored Holocaust deniers at a rally in Washington ahead of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol to “start taking names and kicking ass.” He voted in Congress against certifying President Joe Biden’s victory. And he remained a denier of the 2020 election result.

But Brooks has also landed in Trump’s bad graces after he said last August it was time to move on from the 2020 presidential race and focus on the upcoming election. Trump pointed to those comments to accuse Brooks of being “woke,” a dangerous label in conservative circles.

Focusing on adding to his list of victories, Trump has finally aligned himself with a candidate who, although deeply conservative, is backed by the GOP establishment against whom the former president has railed for years. . The irony was not lost on Brooks, someone so dedicated to Trump’s agenda that he called himself “MAGA Mo.”

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

TRUMP FELL IN GEORGIA

Trump extended his losing streak in Georgia on Tuesday, after two U.S. House candidates he endorsed were knocked out in runoff primary elections that represented a continuation of the beating he received in state last month.

Vernon Jones, a former Liberal Democrat turned MAGA warrior, was crushed by trucking company owner Mike Collins, while Jake Evans also lost in dramatic fashion to ER doctor Rich McCormick.

Georgia has been a Trump fixation ever since he lost the 2020 election and launched a pressure campaign to get the state’s Republican leaders to overturn the results. When they rejected his efforts, Trump’s interests shifted to retribution. He recruited candidates to challenge Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, as well as GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s top election official. Both starters won.

Trump’s interference even went so far as to ask Jones, who originally ran for governor, to stand down for his hand-picked nominee, former Sen. David Perdue, while offering his endorsement to Jones if he ran for an Open House seat instead.

Jones, the former DeKalb County leader, accepted this offer and declared himself the “Black Donald Trump!” while challenging his opponents to “Go ahead, liars!”

But Jones’ baggage, including accusations that he raped a woman in 2004, became a liability in the campaign. The woman dropped the charges against Jones, but she never recanted. Jones said the sexual encounter was consensual. But Collins, whose late father represented Georgia in the U.S. House in the 1990s, handed out rape whistles to keep the allegation fresh.

Meanwhile, in the other Atlanta-area runoff, McCormick, the doctor, easily beat Trump-backed Jake Evans. McCormick’s name was already well known to many in the district after narrowly losing a high-profile 2020 House race to Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux. He was backed by the influential conservative group Club For Growth.

WARNING FOR PROGRESSIVES

In Washington, Bowser fended off a progressive rival in the city’s Democratic primary, overcoming a tough primary campaign focused on rising crime.

Her victory all but guarantees that she will win a third consecutive term as mayor of the heavily Democratic city. The findings could also be interpreted as the latest warning to progressives that voters from the party’s own base are wary of its criminal justice policies at a time of growing concern for public safety.

Bowser beat General Council Member Robert White, who has harshly criticized his response to skyrocketing violent crime rates, and Council Member Trayon White, who represents Ward 8, the poorest and most district criminal.

The primary came as many progressive cities struggle to tackle crime.

For the citizens of the Nation’s Capital, much has happened on Bowser’s watch. Homicides have been on the rise for four years. The 2021 murder count of 227 was the highest mark since 2003. And in January, DC Council candidate Nate Fleming was the victim of a carjacking at gunpoint.

But Bowser, a moderate, took a pragmatic approach that may have helped her on Tuesday.

She has been widely supportive of her police department at a time when activists have called for defunding the police, fighting public battles with the DC Council over the police budget. She quietly replaced an older white police chief with a younger black successor. She also lobbied for funds to hire hundreds more police officers over the next decade.

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Post expires at 5:13am on Sunday July 3rd, 2022