Republican Katie Britt won the Alabama Senate primaries on Tuesday. Former President Donald Trump supported her, but the support of the GOP branch was more important. (Photo: Associated Press)
Establishment-backed Republican Katie Britt won the GOP nomination for Alabama’s open Senate seat on Tuesday night, triumphing in a race in which former President Donald Trump reversed his initial support for her opponent and ultimately backed her.
The win in scarlet Alabama pretty much sees Britt replace her former boss, longtime Senator Richard Shelby, in the upper chamber of Congress.
Britt defeated Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) in a runoff election, winning with 65.5% of the vote against Brooks 34.5% when The Associated Press called the race for Britt at approximately 9:30 p.m.
Britt won with the support of former President Donald Trump ― but she does not owe her victory to him. Britt, who previously served as Shelby’s chief of staff and headed the state-level chamber of commerce, was the choice of the Republican establishment in the game, having the tacit support of groups controlled by allies of Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Brooks, a longtime Trump ally, fully endorsed the president’s false claims about a stolen 2020 election, while Britt avoided doing the same. Trump therefore backed Brooks not long after Shelby announced his retirement.
However, the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC controlled by McConnell allies, has raised $4 million from Shelby to fund a group that is attacking Brooks. The group aired television ads highlighting Brooks’ criticism of Trump’s pre-presidency conservatism and character. Those ads worked to bring Brooks’ poll numbers down.
Seeing a sinking political ship, Trump used Brooks’ suggestion that voters go ahead with his stolen election claims as an excuse to dump the congressman. He denied Brooks in March.
Mo Brooks of Alabama recently made a terrible mistake when he ‘woke up’ and, referring to the 2020 presidential election scam, declared, ‘Put that behind, put that behind’, despite the election being rife with fraud and irregularities,” Trump said in a statement at the time, using a very strange definition of “awake.”
In the May primary, Britt won easily with 45% of the vote, but failed to break the 50% margin needed to avoid a runoff. Brooks finished second with 29% of the vote.
On June 10, long after it became clear that Britt would almost certainly win the second round, Trump backed her.
Britt is now set to face Democrat Will Boyd in November. She is an overwhelming favorite in the heavily Republican state.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.