MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Standing on the steps of the Alabama Capitol earlier this month in the sweltering heat, Republican Senate candidate Mo Brooks was greeted on January 6, 2021 in Washington by rally organizers for efforts to overturn. The results of the 2020 election and keep former President Donald Trump in power.
“I was proud to stand with Mo Brooks on that stage that day,” said Women for America First president Amy Kramer. “Mo has the truth.”
Less than 10 hours later, Trump replaced Congressman – for the second time – and instead endorsed rival Katie Britt in the Republican runoff election for the US Senate seat being vacated by Britt’s former boss, retired GOP Sen. Richard Shelby. The favor was returned.
Alabama is one of a handful of states that hold a contest in the middle of the primary season on Tuesday that has been shaped by Trump’s effort to influence the GOP. In Virginia, Republicans are choosing between Trump-aligned congressional candidates to take on some of the most vulnerable Democrats in the fall. And in Georgia, Democrats will hold several close races, including deciding which Democrat will challenge Republican Secretary of State Brad Rafensper, who passed the Trump-backed challenge last month.
In Washington, DC, meanwhile, Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser is seeking re-election amid concerns over homelessness and rising crime.
But the Alabama Senate runoff has drawn particular attention because of the drama surrounding Trump’s endorsement and the fact that the winner will likely prevail in the state in November, with Trump twice winning by more than 25 percentage points.
Trump initially backed Brooks in the spring of 2021, rewarding a fervent champion of his unsubstantiated claims of a stolen election. Brooks voted against attesting to President Joe Biden’s victory and made a fiery speech at the rally that sparked the US Capitol rebellion, telling the crowd, “Today is the day the American patriots begin to name And start kicking donkeys.”
But nearly a year later, Trump withdrew his support after the pair’s relationship soured and ended up as a conservative firebrand in the polls. Trump blamed his decision on the comments Brooks made months earlier, at an August rally, when he said it was time for the party to move on from the 2020 presidential race — Trump claimed Brooks, Congress One of the most conservative members of the “Wake Up”.
But the move was widely seen as an attempt by Trump to save face, among other pitfalls, and Brooks alleged that it came after informing Trump that by “cancelling” the 2020 election, Biden There was no way to remove it from power, or to keep a new one. Special election for the presidency.
Trump’s un-support was widely expected to end Brooks’ campaign. Instead, Brooks finished second in the state’s May 24 primary, earning 29% of Britt’s 45% of the vote and forcing a runoff.
Brooks once again tried to endorse Trump, but Trump, who has a mixed record in supporting winning candidates, chose Britt, Shelby’s former chief of staff, to call him a “fearless America First Warrior”. Told.
While Brooks and Britt have similar views, their race represents a confrontation between two wings of the party and different generations. Shelby epitomized the old-guard political style for decades, using his clout and relationships to quietly run federal projects and finance his home state.
The 40-year-old Brit enjoys the support of Shelby and other establishment Republicans, as well as deep ties with the state’s business community, which is reflected in her 2-1 fundraising advantage over Brooks.
Brooks, 68, is known for his explosive oratory style. The six-term congressman was a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and began the “Fire McConnell Tour” of the town hall, making opposition to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a pillar of his campaign. A Super PAC affiliated with McConnell contributed $2 million to the PAC opposing Brooks.
He also has the support of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who say he will have to be a necessary hard-line addition to the Senate.
“It’s a race about conservatives versus the establishment,” Paul said Friday in northern Alabama. “We need a fighter. If you send us some old Republican we’re not going to get it. We need a fighter like Mo Brooks.”
Meanwhile, Britt has asserted his own social conservative beliefs and tried to portray Brooks as a career politician, saying Alabamians want “new blood”.
“President Trump knows that the people of Alabamia are sick and tired of unsuccessful, do-it-yourself career politicians. It is time for the next generation of conservatives to step up and shake things up in Washington,” she said in support of Trump. Said after.
Brooks has derided Britt as a RINO—the GOP derogatory meaning “Republican in name only”—and has maintained that he is the only one with a proven conservative record.
According to Secretary of State John Merrill, turnout in the race is expected to be low, with less than 15% of registered voters likely to vote.
Elsewhere, in the nation’s capital, where the Democratic primary effectively decides the winners, Bowser is trying to meet challenges from a pair of city council members, as the city is one of the city’s busiest nightlife destinations. I am battling a bout of crime, including Sunday’s shooting. A 15-year-old man was killed and a police officer and at least two others were injured.
In Virginia, voters are set to pick Republican candidates in what are expected to be a pair of the most competitive US House races of the year.
In the Coastal 2 District, State Sen. Jane Keegans is widely seen as the GOP front-runner in the Republican race to take on Democrat Ellen Luria, a retired Navy commander and House January 6 committee member, in the general election. . In Central Virginia’s 7th District, six candidates are in a competitive race to face Democratic Representative Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA officer.
And in Georgia, Democratic State Rep. B. Nguyen is trying to defeat former state Representative Dee Dawkins-Hagler in the secretary of state race. The winner will face Republican Raffensperger, who slammed Trump’s efforts to “find” enough votes to reverse Biden’s victory in the state’s 2020 presidential election, and Trump-backed challengers in the May 24 primary election. left behind.
In Congressional runoff, Republican Vernon Jones, a Trump-backed candidate and former Democrat, is competing against trucking company owner Mike Collins for the Republican nomination for the 10th Congressional District seat east of Atlanta.
Republicans also have high hopes of defeating 30-year-old Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop in the Second District of southwest Georgia. The GOP is choosing between former Army officer Jeremy Hunt and real estate developer Chris West.
Colvin reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Sarah Rankin in Richmond, VA contributed to this report.
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