Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.)—a Trump loyalist who lost the former president’s endorsement after he argued against relitigating the 2020 election—will face off against Trump’s new favored candidate in a primary runoff Tuesday for Alabama’s open Senate seat, in another test of both Trump’s endorsement power and 2020’s resonance with GOP voters.
Brooks is running against former GOP political staffer Katie Britt in a runoff for the Republican nomination, after neither candidate won an outright majority in last month’s primary election (Britt led Brooks 44.7% to 29.2% in that race).
Britt earned Trump’s endorsement less than two weeks ago, likely giving her campaign an extra boost in a state Trump won by over 25 points in 2020.
Since leaving office, Trump has used his endorsements to target Republicans who pushed back against his false voter fraud claims. But Brooks doesn’t fall into this category. Among the first Republicans to vow to object to President Joe Biden’s win on January 6, the six-term congressman told Trump supporters on the morning of the Capitol riot to “start takin’ down names and kickin’ ass,” and as recently as two weeks ago, he still baselessly insisted the 2020 election was “stolen.” Despite this record, Trump says he un-endorsed Brooks because the congressman told voters last year to put the 2020 election “behind you.” Brooks also claims he angered Trump after the former president pushed him to somehow “rescind” Biden’s win, reinstate Trump as president and hold a new special election for the presidency—an idea Brooks says he turned down because it’s unconstitutional. Since that snub, Brooks has still cast himself as “MAGA Mo” and called himself “the only conservative in this race.” Meanwhile, Britt has enjoyed the backing of Trump and Shelby—for whom Britt worked as chief of staff—as well as several outside political spending groups.
Trump is still broadly popular among Republican voters, but his endorsement record so far this year is mixed. Candidates backed by the former president won competitive Republican Senate primaries in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Nevada, and dozens of other Trump endorsees have won relatively noncompetitive races. However, Georgia’s incumbent governor, secretary of state and attorney general all won their Republican primaries last month, dodging Trump’s attempts to oust them for refusing to side with his push to overturn the 2020 election.