Trump Likely to Stay Out of Alabama Senate Runoff

Trump Likely to Stay Out of Alabama Senate Runoff katie britt smiles and applauds at a talladega auto racing event Alabama GOP Senate primary candidate Katie Britt (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

John Gizzi By John Gizzi Saturday, 28 May 2022 01:02 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Three days after the initial Alabama Republican Senate primary, and three weeks before the runoff, sources close to Donald Trump say they expect the former president not to choose in the contest between former Alabama Business Council head Katie Britt and Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala.

Britt, onetime top aide to retiring GOP Sen. Richard Shelby, topped the primary field with 46% of the vote Tuesday.

But because she did not reach 50%, Britt must face runner-up Brooks (29%). The six-term congressman and House Freedom Caucus member initially had Trump's endorsement, only to be "unendorsed" by the former president after he said it was time to look ahead to the 2022 and '24 elections and not back to 2020.

Now the big question is whether Trump will reverse his rescinding of the original endorsement and go back to supporting Brooks.

One former Alabama legislator who was involved in Trump's '16 and '20 campaigns insisted "the former president withdrew his support for Mo, and it would not look good if he suddenly decided to undo his unendorsement now."

"Trump is always a wild card," Coalmont Electrical Development Corporation President Shaun McCutcheon, a Trump delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention, told Newsmax. "If he endorses Mo again that would be huge in Alabama, one of the strongest Trump supporting states. Trump surely wants a win after Georgia [where three statewide candidates he supported lost the primary last week] and he can get it here."

But others who spoke to Newsmax say it will be an uphill climb for Brooks in the runoff—even with third-place finisher and Blackhawk Down hero Mike Durant (23%) endorsing him.

Noting Durant is a resident of Brooks 5th District (Huntsville, Alabama), Washington Examiner columnist and Mobile, Alabama, resident Quin Hilyer told us: "It's probably a reasonable assumption that two-thirds of Durant's votes up there would go Brooks in a two-way race.

"In other words, Durant made Brook's plurality in his home district smaller."

But Hilyer also pointed out, "that's not the case statewide, though, where my sense is the Durant vote will go about 55-45 with Brooks. That's nowhere near enough for Brooks to make up the difference, absent a major shift in turnout."

Brooks is expected to hit hard at Britt for the Alabama Business Council's support of a state gas tax increase while she was its president.

Inarguably, working to Britt's advantage in the primary was her support from popular retiring Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. Britt, 46, had been press secretary and chief of staff to Shelby, the Yellowhammer State's longest-serving (36 years) senator.

Should Britt win, she would be the first chief of staff to a senator to go to the Senate since Democrat Gale McGee, top aide to Wyoming's Sen. Joseph C. O'Mahoney, won the Cowboy State's other seat in 1958.

Alabama has had two women senators — Democrats Dixie Bibb Graves (1937-'38) and Maryon Allen (1977-'78) — but both were appointed to fill vacancies for brief periods. If triumphant, Britt would be the first woman elected to the Senate from Alabama.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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