Katie Britt, a former top aid to Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., has defeated Rep. Mo Brooks in Alabama’s Republican Senate primary runoff, NBC News projects.
The race to succeed Shelby, who is retiring, had flummoxed former President Donald Trump, whose early endorsement of Brooks was consistent with what had been a close political alliance.
But Trump soured on Brooks, who had expressed a desire to move on from the 2020 election that Trump continues to falsely claim he won. Brooks, once an early favorite in the race, saw his poll numbers decline, and Trump withdrew his endorsement. Brooks ultimately rallyed to earn a spot in the runoff against Britt, but she had long since become the GOP front-runner. Trump eventually endorsed her less than two weeks ago.
“Every single person who helped this campaign is a patriot who loves America, and I thank you for it,” Brooks posted on Twitter after the race was called Tuesday night. “This isn’t the outcome we wanted, but I am proud to have fought for our country. America, and you all, are worth it.”
Britt will face Democratic nominee Will Boyd in November. Addressing her supporters late Tuesday, she credited Trump’s endorsement with “helping us wrap this thing up in style.”
“People across Alabama miss his America First agenda,” Britt added, “and we are going to go to the United States Senate to fight for it each and every day.”
Georgia, meanwhile, dealt another round of blows to Trump, whose endorsed House candidates in two districts were defeated Tuesday in GOP primary runoffs, NBC News projects. In the 6th Congressional District, Rich McCormick, a Marine veteran and emergency room doctor, beat Trump-backed Jake Evans. And in the 10th District, trucking company owner Mike Collins bested Trump favorite Vernon Jones.
The GOP also picked candidates in key contests Tuesday in Virginia, where party leaders hope to unseat two Democrats in the fall as they seek to reclaim control of the House.
In the 2nd Congressional District, state Sen. Jen Kiggans has won her party’s primary to take on Rep. Elaine Luria in the general election, NBC News projects. In the 7th District, Prince William County Supervisor Yesli Vega emerged from a six-way primary as the GOP nominee against Rep. Abigail Spanberger, NBC News projects.
Trump did not endorse in either race.
Trump is likely to point to the Alabama runoff as a personal political victory, given Brooks’ defeat and his late endorsement of Britt. But Georgia Republicans, on the same day Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger tested before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol, continued to reject Trump’s candidates.
The former president embarked on a revenge tour after losing the 2020 election and was particularly focused on Georgia, where he tried and failed to pressure Republican state officials, including Gov. Brian Kemp and Raffensperger, to rig the state’s vote in his favor.
Jones, who lost the 10th Congressional District runoff, initially had planned to run for governor. He dropped out to accommodate David Perdue, the former US senator Trump backed against Kemp. Perdue lost, as did Rep. Jody Hice, the Republican Trump endorsed against Raffensperger in the GOP primary for secretary of state. (Kemp endorsed Collins over Jones last week.)
In Virginia, meanwhile, Republicans are bullish in a state that not too long ago seemed to have moved decisively toward Democrats. President Joe Biden won there by 10 percentage points in 2020. But just last year Republican Glenn Youngkin — who focused on local issues such as school curriculum while keeping Trump at a cautious distance — won the governorship in a closely fought race, raising GOP expectations in swing districts this year.
“Democrats lost in Virginia last November and that trend will continue into 2022,” Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel said in an emailed statement Tuesday night. “Republicans Jen Kiggans and Yesli Vega will fight for parents’ rights in schools and will hold Joe Biden accountable for high gas prices, the baby formula shortage, and soaring inflation.”
In the Virginia 2nd, Kiggans a Navy veteran and nurse practitioner, led the four-candidate field in fundraising and had strong backing from national party figures such as Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, the No. 3 Republicans in the House. Others competing in the primary included Tommy Altman, Andy Baan and Jarome Bell. Luria, the Democrat whom Kiggans will now aim to unseat, is among the members of the House Jan. 6 committee that has been holding public hearings on the insurrection by Trump supporters at the US Capitol in 2021.
“There was not a single person I talked to or a single door I knocked on where someone wanted to talk about the January 6th commission,” Kiggans told The Washington Post while greeting voters at a polling site Tuesday. “They want to talk about gas prices and grocery prices and the economy, the economy, the economy. They want to know what we’re going to do to lower gas prices, which really affects the price of everything.”
Vega, the GOP winner in the Virginia 7th district Tuesday night, had been a leader in a Latino coalition that worked to elect Youngkin last year. Among each top rivals were state You. Bryce Reeves and Army Special Forces veteran Derrick Anderson.
Also on the ballot Tuesday was a runoff in Georgia’s Democratic primary for secretary of state. State Rep. Bee Nguyen defeated former state Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler, NBC News projects, and will face Raffensperger.