Republican senators have discreetly begun supporting a GOP Senate candidate in Alabama who is running in next year’s primary against Rep. Mo Brooks, who has the backing of former President Donald Trump.
According to Politico, only one GOP senator, Richard Shelby, her former boss, has publicly offered support for Katie Britt, but behind the scenes, she’s getting backing from at least a half-dozen of Shelby’s GOP colleagues.
“Five Republican senators — Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) — have donated to Britt’s campaign from their leadership PACs,” the outlet reported. “None of them have done so yet for GOP Rep. Mo Brooks, who Trump endorsed in April to replace the retiring Shelby (R-Ala.).”
In addition, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), also an ally of Trump who won last year with the former president’s endorsement, attended a fundraiser for Britt on Wednesday along with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who was a “special guest” at the event, according to an invitation seen by Politico.
“I like Katie a lot,” Graham told the outlet Thursday, adding that he has known her since she worked for Shelby, eventually rising up the ranks to become his chief of staff.
“In a party trying to grow demographically and pull more women in the party, that’d be a good thing. The people of Alabama will figure that out,” Graham added.
And while Brooks has “a strong profile in Alabama…Katie’s not giving an inch,” said Graham. “We’ll see what happens.”
Financial support for Britt, who is the former president of the Business Council of Alabama, is coming even though Trump has disparaged her.
“I see that the RINO Senator from Alabama, close friend of Old Crow Mitch McConnell, Richard Shelby, is pushing hard to have his ‘assistant’ fight the great Mo Brooks for his Senate seat,” Trump said in July. “She is not in any way qualified and is certainly not what our Country needs or not what Alabama wants.”
That said, Brooks has faded somewhat after he entered the race. In addition, Politico reported that Trump is not enamored with Brooks’ legislative performance.
Graham and Tuberville have not officially endorsed Britt as of yet, but by appearing on her behalf at what was a crowded event earlier this week — Tuberville had a picture taken with his arm around the Senate candidate — some would argue the support is tacitly there. Also, recent polling and fundraising figures put Britt in command of the primary next spring.
Also, according to a source that spoke to Politico, Tuberville and Britt met and talked at the Iron Bowl, the traditional college football matchup between in-state rivals Auburn and the University of Alabama; Tuberville is a former Auburn football head coach.
What’s more, “Britt has outraised Brooks by more than 2-to-1, bringing in $3.7 million to date, compared to his $1.7 million. Her campaign’s expenditures total less than half of Brooks’, even as Brooks has held off on staffing up for the race in an apparent cost-saving measure,” Politico added.
Despite the outward signs, though, Brooks campaign manager Stan McDonald dismissed any talk of a faltering campaign, noting in a statement that Britt is simply “trying to win in the DC Insider Primary because she is an insider.”
“Mo Brooks’ base is the Alabama conservative grassroots who decide our elections,” McDonald said. “He’s got their support, and he’s got President Trump’s support because they know he’s the conservative leader Alabama needs.”
That said, Brooks has been in public office for nearly four decades; Britt has never held an elected office.
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