Katie Britt, a former top aide to Sen. Richard Shelby, defeated Rep. Mo Brooks in Alabama’s Republican Senate primary runoff after a campaign rocked by former President Trump switching his endorsement over his 2020 election fraud claims.
Mrs. Britt, 40, defeated Mr. Brooks, 68, after leading by double digits in recent polls.
News outlets quickly called the race with less than 10% of the vote counted and Mrs. Britt leading Mr. Brooks 66% to 34%.
She now faces Democrat Will Boyd in the November race to fill the Senate seat left open by the retiring Mr. Shelby, her former boss and Senate Appropriations Committee chair.
The state chose Mr. Trump in 2016 and 2020 by more than 25 points and its deep-red electorate means Mrs. Britt will be heavily favored in November.
Mrs. Britt had outraised Mr. Brooks, secured the support of the party establishment, and won Mr. Trump’s endorsement on June 11. Two months earlier, Mr. Trump had revoked his endorsement of Mr. Brooks over the latter man disputing his election-fraud claims.
Mr. Brooks, who represented Alabama’s 5th Congressional District since 2011 and helped launch the conservative House Freedom Caucus, has been a staunch supporter of the former president and backed Mr. Trump’s claim the 2020 election was rigged to favor Democrat Joe Biden. He voted against certifying the 2020 election and spoke at Trump’s “stop the steal” rally in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6.
That rally became the launching point for a mob of violent protesters who marched to the Capitol and forced their way into the building in a bid to block lawmakers from certifying the election in favor of Mr. Biden.
Mr. Brooks lost Mr. Trump’s backing, however, after telling a crowd earlier this year that it was time to move past the 2020 election. Mr. Trump’s revocation of support also came after polls showed Mr. Brooks lagging behind in the GOP primary.
“Mo Brooks of Alabama made a horrible mistake recently when he went ‘woke’ and stated, referring to the 2020 Presidential Election Scam, ‘Put that behind you, put that behind you,’” Mr. Trump said in a statement.
Despite losing the coveted nod from Mr. Trump, Mr. Brooks continued to run as a “MAGA” candidate and won enough support in the state’s May 24 primary to force a runoff with Mrs. Britt.
He sought to win back Mr. Trump’s endorsement, but instead the former president chose Mrs. Britt, a businesswoman and lawyer who was president of Alabama’s business council after working for years in Congress, where she climbed the ranks to become Mr. Shelby’s chief of staff.
Mr. Trump, who likes to tout the power of his primary endorsements, picked Mrs. Britt after polls showed her with a double-digit lead over Mr. Brooks.
“Above all, Katie Britt will never let you down,” Mr. Trump said.