The mind-boggling fundraising and energetic campaigning of Alabama Senate hopeful Katie Boyd Britt helped the political newcomer become one of the top contenders in the Republican primary draw that could determine the outcome of the Red State race in 2022.
Britt, a retired Senator’s protégé. Richard shelby (R-Ala.), Has stunned political circles by raising more than $ 2.2 million in recent weeks and heading quickly through Alabama to face six terms as representative. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) In an ambitious bid to win the seat Shelby has held since 1986. Britt’s payout was almost three times the $ 824,000 Brooks raised in the second quarter and indicated the preferred candidate for the former President Donald Trump had an uphill battle.
Britt’s fundraiser for the period ending June 30 caught the attention of Trump, who said Shelby’s former chief of staff and campaign strategist was “in no way qualified” and that Brooks had “everything Alabama wants”. But Shelby said Britt, an attorney who recently headed the Business Council of Alabama, is the “best fit” in the GOP’s primary field, which has already drawn four applicants.
“Have you seen that big fundraising figure? It made him nervous, ”Shelby, the state’s longest-serving senator, said of Trump in an interview. “It will be a lively race. Mo Brooks and the President are probably reacting to his early fundraising prowess. She is a dynamic and intelligent woman.
The winner of the Republican primary next spring will be widely favored in the legislative elections. Besides Britt and Brooks, other candidates include Lynda Blanchard, former Trump ambassador to Slovenia, and Jessica Taylor, a businesswoman who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2020. No Democrats have announced plans to step down. present.
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Britt, 39, said in an interview that her fundraiser shows the Alabamians are “ready for fresh blood.” She shot Brooks, who came under constant criticism after telling a crowd before the January 6 riot on the United States Capitol that it was time to “start jotting down names and kicking the ball.” ass ”. She said he had little to show in the 40 years that he was on the ballot box in search of state and federal offices and was far from the “fearless fighter” he was looking for. ‘he calls himself.
“I think real leadership comes when you can create solutions. And he seems to be good at identifying problems but lacks his ability to be effective or to get things done, ”Britt said.
In May, after the announcement of Britt’s upcoming candidacy, Brooks criticized Britt and his experience on the Business Council over his Twitter feed, where he features Trump’s endorsement alongside his own name.
Who can deliver
In a statement, Brooks said Trump’s endorsement “helps GOP voters discern which candidate is the real one, pro-MAGA, conservative and which candidate is the suitor.”
Political analysts said Britt still has a long way to go to beat Brooks, who has represented northern Alabama since his first victory in 2010. Brooks, whom Democrats have accused of cheering on the insurgents on Capitol Hill, could spark more worry in a swing state like Georgia than in Alabama, the “most Trumpi” of states, said Chris Brown of Red State Strategies in Birmingham.
But while being a “strong Conservative vote,” Brooks still hasn’t shown legislative prowess, while working under Shelby could help Britt provide federal funding to Alabama, Brown said. Shelby, the top Republican on credits, and his staff have funneled billions into the state. Brooks joined the House Freedom Caucus which opposed annual spending bills and called for government shutdown.
“I think this is something that Katie is likely to be more successful at, bringing home the dollars,” Brown said.
Trump dismissed Shelby as a “RINO” – a Republican in name only – but the veteran lawmaker who also previously chaired the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committee is sitting on a war chest of more than $ 16 million of dollars which he intends to continue to draw. to help the leader of the minority Mitch mcconnell (R-Ky.) Regain a majority in the Senate in 2022. He said he gave Britt the maximum allowed by campaign finance laws and that he may look to donate in other ways.
“It’s going to be a $ 15 million race,” Shelby said of the primary.
David Mowery, president of the Alabama-based Mowery Consulting Group, said Shelby’s estimate for candidate expenses would only be part of the pie. “I could see an additional $ 10-15 million spent by super PACs,” he said.
Britt began managing Shelby’s press operations after graduating from the University of Alabama in 2004. She returned home in 2007 and went on to earn a law degree from Alabama. At Montgomery, she led state government affairs for the law firm Butler Snow and practiced corporate law.
But Britt remained close to Team Shelby and in 2015 took time off from his company to serve as Shelby’s deputy campaign manager when he ran for re-election. After Shelby won a sixth term, Britt served as her chief of staff until the end of 2018. She then headed the business council from January 2019 until last month.
If elected, Britt would be the first woman from Alabama to be elected to the Senate.
Britt said that while Brooks may have Trump’s approval, her fundraising shows she has strong support within the state. About 90% of the money she raised came from Alabamians, while a large portion of Brooks’ funds came from out of state, she said.
“I’m going to work every day to get approval from the people of Alabama,” Britt said.
Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) Was a newbie to politics but successfully used his reputation as a former Auburn University football coach to win in 2020. Britt also has ties to sports in the state Football-obsessed, having married University of Alabama star Wesley Britt in 2008 Britt, a former Crimson Tide lineman, played for the New England Patriots. The couple have two children.
“You can’t miss my husband: he’s 6’8, 320,” said Britt. “I’m joking that he takes a door frame.”
“I asked a man to say, ‘Well, I’m glad to see you run, you’re going to win, and then we finally have both political parties represented,'” she said. “‘We’ll have an Auburn football coach, then we’ll have the wife of a former Crimson Tide player.'”
To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Ognanovich in Washington at [email protected]