After a wild campaign that saw him turn from Donald Trump ally to Donald Trump tormentor, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) ended up failing to win the title he really wanted: US Senator from Alabama.
On Tuesday night, Brooks was easily defeated in a Republican primary runoff election by Katie Boyd Britt, a former top aide to longtime Sen. Richard Shelby, whose retirement opened up this seat.
Brooks, a MAGA-wing congressman best known outside Alabama for his incendiary rhetoric at the infamous Ellipse rally in Washington on Jan. 6, entered the race to replace Shelby last year with the ex-president’s enthusiastic endorsement.
However, Brooks’ campaign struggled with the entry of Britt — who had the power of Shelby’s considerable machine behind her — and another candidate, Army veteran Mike Durant. In March, Brooks’ tanking poll numbers prompted the first-ever rescinding of a Trump endorsement, which Trump justified by claiming somehow that the far-right congressman had gone “woke.”
But that bizarre turn of events seemed to enliven Brooks’ fading campaign. Armed with an ax to grind, Brooks surged in the polls. He began hitting Trump, and hard, needling him for his focus on the 2020 election by repeating his belief, anathema to the ex-president, that Republicans should focus on the 2022 and 2024 races.
In the May 24 primary, Brooks edged out Durant and earned nearly 29 percent of the vote, good enough to get to the June 21 runoff with Britt.
But any chance that Brooks might recapture Trump’s endorsement seemed dim. Britt, who was boosted by GOP establishment forces — including Trump’s archenemy, Sen. Mitch McConnell — ended up earning the ex-president’s backing, too. That prompted Brooks to trash Trump for endorsing whom he called “Alabama’s Liz Cheney,” a grave insult in today’s GOP.
Britt’s victory on Tuesday all but ensures Republicans will retain this seat in deep-red Alabama come November. If she wins, Britt will be the first woman elected to represent Alabama in the Senate.