Katie Britt won the Republican Senate nomination in Alabama on Tuesday, beating six-term Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., in a runoff after former President Donald Trump made the unusual move to rescind his Brooks’ endorsement.
The loss ends a turbulent campaign for Brooks, a conservative firebrand who fully embraced Trump’s campaign challenges and ran under the “MAGA Mo” banner. But that wasn’t enough for the former president, who initially backed Brooks in the race to replace Britt’s former boss, incumbent Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., but later withdrew his support as Brooks languished in the polls.
Trump finally endorsed Britt in the home stretch of the race after she became the top voter in the state’s May 24 primary. She will face Democrat Will Boyd in November in the majority Republican state.
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.
While Britt was already considered the frontrunner when Trump trailed her, the result gives the former president a victory at a time when his influence on the GOP has come under intense scrutiny.
The Alabama Senate runoff had drawn particular attention due to the drama surrounding Trump’s endorsement. Trump originally endorsed Brooks in the spring of 2021, rewarding an ardent champion for his claims of a stolen election. Brooks had voted against certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election and delivered a fiery speech Jan. 6 at the rally before the Capitol was stormed by protesters, telling the crowd, ” Today is the day American patriots start taking names and kicking ass.”
But nearly a year later, Trump rescinded his support after the couple’s relationship soured and Brooks languished in the polls. Trump blamed his decision on comments Brooks made months earlier at a rally in August when he said it was time for the party to stop arguing the 2020 presidential race – the comments which Trump claimed showed Brooks, one of the most conservative members of Congress, had gone “woke.”
Brooks, who is known for his bombastic oratorical style, described the primary 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 “RINO” – the GOP’s pejorative meaning “Republican in name only” – and argued he was the only one with a proven conservative record.
The founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus also took on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a stalwart of his campaign, by 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’re sending 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.
Britt, meanwhile, portrayed 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,” Carolyn Bowman, 86, said. “That’s what we need in Congress.”
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