Katie Britt defeats six-year-old Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks in the second round of the Republican Senate

FILE - Republican U.S. Senate candidate Katie Britt talks to supporters at her viewing party on May 24, 2022 in Montgomery, Ala.  Former President Donald Trump on Friday, June 10, endorsed Britt and redoubled his decision over his previous pick in the Republican primary.  Britt and Mo Brooks will face each other in the June 21 runoff election to determine the Republican nominee.  (Photo/Butch Dill, File)

Republican Senate candidate Katie Britt talks to supporters at her primary viewing party last month in Montgomery, Ala. (Butch Dill / Associated Press)

Katie Britt has won the Republican Senate nomination in Alabama, beating six-year-old U.S. Representative Mo Brooks in a runoff primary after former President Trump took the unusual step to change his approval.

The loss ends a turbulent campaign for Brooks, a conservative con man who had fully embraced Trump’s election lies and had run under the “MAGA Mo” banner. But it wasn’t enough for the former president, who initially backed Brooks in the race to replace Britt’s former boss, Senator Richard C. Shelby, who retired but then withdrew his support as Brooks languished in the polls.

Trump eventually backed Britt in the final stretch of the race after coming out with the most votes in the May 24 primaries.

The state was one of the few on Tuesday to hold games in the midst of a primary season shaped by Trump’s attempt to influence the GOP.

After crushing defeats in last month’s Georgia primaries, Trump’s losing streak there continued on Tuesday as two of his endorsed congressional candidates faltered in their GOP run-off elections.

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

Trump had persuaded Jones to run for the seat and drop his long-standing governor offer to clear the field for his elected candidate, former Senator David Perdue. perdu lost to Republican government Brian Kemp, which Collins endorsed. The seat is being vacated by GOP Representative Jody Hice, who lost his bid to dethrone Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, another of Trump’s top targets.

In Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser won the Democratic nomination for another term, fending off a few challengers amid concerns about rising crime and homelessness.

But the Senate second round in Alabama has drawn particular attention because of the drama surrounding Trump’s approval and the fact that the winner is likely to prevail in November in a state that Trump won twice by more than 25 percentage points.

Trump initially approved Brooks in the spring of 2021 and rewarded an ardent champion of his baseless claims about stolen presidential elections. Brooks had voted against confirming Democrat Joe Biden’s victory and gave a fiery speech at Trump’s rally earlier the uprising of the US Capitol, saying to the crowd, “Today is the day that American patriots start writing names and kicking them.”

But almost a year later, Trump withdrew its support after the couple’s relationship soured and lawmakers languished in the polls. Trump cited comments Brooks made at an August rally when he said it was time for the party to move forward with litigation over the 2020 presidential race — comments Trump said showed that Brooks, one of the most conservative members of Congress, “woke up.” †

The move was widely seen as Trump’s attempt to save face amid other losses, with Brooks claiming it came after informing Trump that there was no way to “revoke” the 2020 election,” Biden said. power or keep a new special. election for the presidency.

Trump’s approval was widely expected to end Brooks’ campaign. Instead, Brooks managed to finish second in the May 24 primary, earning 29% of the vote against Britt’s 45% and forcing a runoff.

Brooks tried again let trump support him, but Trump, who has had a mixed record supporting winning candidates, chose Britt, Shelby’s former chief of staff, instead.

While Brooks, 68, and Britt, 40 share the same views, their race represented a clash between two wings of the party and different generations.

Known for his bombastic oratorio style, Brooks described the race as a battle for the soul of the Republican Party, pitting the “true conservative” wing against established members of the GOP. He belittled Britt as a RINO — the pejorative GOP acronym for “Republican in name only” — and insisted he was the only one with a proven conservative record.

The six-year-old congressman and founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus also made his opposition to minority Senate leader Mitch McConnell a pillar of his campaign, embarking on a “Fire McConnell Tour” of town halls.

He won the support of Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who said he would be a necessary addition to the Senate.

“This is a race about conservatives against the establishment,” Paul said in Alabama on Friday. “We need a fighter. We won’t get it if you send us an old Republican. We need a fighter like Mo Brooks.”

Britt, meanwhile, emerged as one of a new generation of conservative leaders. She had the approval of Shelby and other established Republicans, but emphasized her own socially conservative beliefs and tried to portray Brooks as a career politician.

“People want new blood. They want fresh blood. They want someone to go to DC, fight for their values ​​and fight for the hardworking people of Alabama,” she told reporters Tuesday as she voted with her husband, former New England Patriot player Wesley Britt, and two children.

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.”

In Virginia, Republicans chose among Trump-aligned congressional candidates to take on some of the most vulnerable Democrats in the fall.

In the 2nd coastal district, Sen. Jen Kiggans won the Republican race to try to overthrow Democrat Elaine Luria, a retired naval commander and member of the Jan. 6 commission, in the general election. In central Virginia’s 7th district, six candidates were in a competitive race to face Democratic Representative Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA officer.

In the Virginia Beach polls, Nanci Eves, 70, said on Tuesday she had voted for Kiggans in part because the candidate appeared to be in the best position to win in November.

“We need someone who can beat Elaine Luria,” said Eves, a retired nurse who thinks Democrats made “a mess” while in power.

In Georgia, Democratic State Rep. Bee Nguyen defeated former Secretary of State Dee Dawkins-Haigler in the Secretary of State race. Nguyen will face Raffensperger, the Republican incumbent who rejected Trump’s efforts to “find” enough votes to undo Biden’s win in the state, then withdrew a Trump-backed challenger in the May 24 primary. .

Colvin reported from Washington and Chandler from Montgomery, Ala. Associated Press writer Ben Finley in Virginia Beach, Virginia, contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times

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