early and often

Trump Dumped Mo Brooks. He Made the Senate Runoff Anyway.

Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photo: Vasha Hunt/AP/Shutterstock

The U.S. Senate candidacy of the man who calls himself “MAGA Mo” Brooks looked cooked in late March when his idol, Donald Trump, withdrew his endorsement. Reportedly disgruntled with Brooks’s poorly run campaign and charmed by rival Katie Britt, Trump contrived a ridiculous excuse for dumping the veteran reactionary. The Alabama representative was Trump’s chief congressional champion in trying to stop the confirmation of Joe Biden’s election, and he spoke at his January 6, 2021, rally. But Trump declared Brooks “woke” because he told an Alabama audience, seven months into Biden’s presidency, that it was time for them to move on from 2020 election conspiracies. It wasn’t the first time Trump had abandoned one of his most devoted followers.

However, Brooks didn’t give up, and in Tuesday’s primary he earned a spot in a June 21 runoff with Britt, who fell short of the majority she needed for the nomination. Britt finished with 44.7 percent and Brooks came in second with 29.1 percent. Brooks benefitted from his own stubborn resilience and from the slow decline in support for a third candidate, Mike Durant, whose self-funded ads and fame as the heroic survivor of the incident that inspired the book and movie Black Hawk Down momentarily put him into contention.

One would normally figure Britt — the former chief of staff for retiring U.S. senator Richard Shelby and president of Alabama’s business-lobbying organization — would have a big advantage over the old ideologue Brooks. But Durant has indicated he will support Brooks in the runoff, and Britt’s background could help Brooks attack her as a sort of Sweetheart of the Swamp. It’s unclear where Trump is placing his bets in the Alabama race now that he has no official endorsee. But after the drubbing he took in Georgia’s primary on May 24, he may want to lay low in the runoff next door.

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Trump Dumped Mo Brooks. He Made the Senate Runoff Anyway.