In Alabama, an Unusual Test of Trump's Influence

Former president initially endorsed Mo Brooks in Senate race, then unendorsed him
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 21, 2022 7:43 AM CDT
He Fell From Trump's Graces, Hopes to Win Anyway
Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., talks with the media after voting in Alabama's state primary in Huntsville, Ala., on May 24. Brooks is seeking the Republican nomination for US Senate.   (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt, File)

(Newser) – A handful of states are holding contests Tuesday at the midpoint of a primary season that has been shaped by former President Trump's effort to influence the GOP, per the AP. Nowhere is that more in evidence than in Alabama, where GOP Rep. Mo Brooks and fellow Republican Katie Britts are competing in a Senate runoff to replace retiring GOP Sen. Richard Shelby. The unusual thing here: Brooks has been a staunch advocate of Trump, but the former president has endorsed Britts—after initially endorsing Brooks. Trump initially backed Brooks in the spring of 2021, rewarding an ardent champion of Trump's claims of a stolen election.

Brooks also voted against certifying Joe Biden's election victory and delivered a fiery speech at the rally that proceeded the Capitol riot, telling the crowd, "Today is the day that American patriots start taking down names and kicking a--." But nearly a year later, Trump rescinded his support after the pair's relationship soured and as the conservative firebrand languished in the polls. Trump blamed his decision on comments Brooks had made at an August rally, when he said it was time for the party to move on from the 2020 race—comments Trump claimed showed Brooks, one of the most conservative members of Congress, had gone "woke." Trump's flip was expected to end Brooks' campaign. Instead, he earned 29% of the vote in the May primary to Britt's 45%, forcing the runoff. Elsewhere Tuesday:

  • In Virginia, voters are set to pick Republican nominees for what's expected to be a pair of the year's most competitive House races. In the coastal 2nd District, state Sen. Jen Kiggans is widely seen as the GOP front-runner in the Republican race to take on Democrat Elaine Luria, a retired Naval commander and member of the House Jan. 6 committee, in the general election. In central Virginia's 7th District, six candidates are in a competitive race to face Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA officer.
  • In Georgia, Democrats will settle several close races, including deciding which Democrat will challenge Brad Raffensperger, the Republican secretary of state who overcame a Trump-backed challenge last month.
  • In Washington, DC, Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser is seeking reelection amid concerns over homelessness and rising crime.
(Read more primaries stories.)

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