Katie Britt, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks in Alabama Senate runoff

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate is going to a June runoff between Katie Britt and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, who overcame losing former President Donald Trump’s endorsement to remain a contender for the GOP nomination.

The Republicans are seeking the Senate seat now held by U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, who is retiring. Britt is Shelby’s former chief of staff and the former leader of the Business Council of Alabama....

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate is going to a June runoff between Katie Britt and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, who overcame losing former President Donald Trump’s endorsement to remain a contender for the GOP nomination.

The Republicans are seeking the Senate seat now held by U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, who is retiring. Britt is Shelby’s former chief of staff and the former leader of the Business Council of Alabama. Brooks is a six-term congressman from north Alabama.

They advance to a June 21 runoff, which is required when no candidate captures more than 50% of the initial vote. The two edged out Mike Durant, a businessman best known as the helicopter pilot shot down and held captive in the events chronicled in “Black Hawk Down.”

“It is clear tonight that Alabamians want new blood. They want someone to go to Washington, D.C., and shake it up. It is clear that they want a true Christian conservative Republican who will lead on the America first agenda and doesn’t just talk about it but knows how to actually get something done,” Britt told supporters gathered in Montgomery.

In his Tuesday night speech, Brooks called himself the “America first, MAGA candidate” in the race, referencing Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan, and said he has a proven record on issues like border security and opposing abortion.

“This Senate runoff is a battle for the soul of the Republican Party. It’s a battle to advance the United States of America,” Brooks said

Trump had initially endorsed Brooks but rescinded that backing in March, citing unhappiness with Brooks’ performance and accusing the conservative congressman of going “woke” for suggesting it was time to move on from Trump’s false claims of 2020 election fraud.

In east Montgomery, Jack Graham, 71, voted for Britt on Tuesday.

“It’s time to let the young people take over. Let’s see what she can do. I think she’s smart. She’s level-headed. She has a good background. She’s got good experience,” Graham said.

Shelby, one of the Senate’s most senior members, announced last year that he would not seek reelection in 2022, igniting the messy GOP primary at a time when the national Republican Party is trying to chart a direction after Trump’s departure.

Outside groups pumped more than $20 million into the Alabama race, and Brooks benefited after Durant faced a series of ads, including one from a political action committee, that portrayed the former prisoner of war as opposing gun rights.

Durant said the ad was “patently false” and urged supporters to back candidates who want to go to Washington to do something different.

“You can’t stand here and complain about what’s going on in Washington, D.C., and then go cast your vote for somebody who’s part of the establishment,” Durant said in his concession speech.

The Republican nominee will face the Rev. Will Boyd, a minister and engineer from Hoover, who defeated two opponents in Tuesday’s primary. Boyd was the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2018 but lost to Republican Will Ainsworth.

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