The Alabama Republican Party Steering Committee sought out answers from Katie Britt’s campaign after a statement was made over the weekend, claiming she was helpful to Doug Jones, a Democrat who won Alabama’s U.S. Senate race in 2017.
Several sources told 1819 News the Steering Committee approved a motion during Sunday’s meeting to ask Alabama Republican Party Chairman John Wahl to reach out to the Britt campaign for information. They noted that previous Republican candidates have been denied ballot access for public support of Democratic candidates.
The request came after what multiple members of the Steering Committee describe as a “heated” discussion following an article 1819 News published Saturday. In the article, Wade Perry, the outgoing Executive Director of the Alabama Democratic Party, is quoted in a tweet saying Britt was “super helpful to us in the Doug Jones thing in 2017…”
“There was a rather heated, protractive, divisive discussion on that,” one GOP Steering Committee member told 1819 News. “… We need a clarification and statement from the Britt campaign as to how this guy was able to make those statements. Is he lying?”
No Steering Committee member who spoke with 1819 News had evidence of Britt supporting Jones but rather said they had questions following Perry’s comments.
Britt is currently in a runoff election with 5th District Congressman Mo Brooks for the Senate seat vacated by her former boss, Senator Richard Shelby.
In a statement to 1819 News, Wahl confirmed the Sunday meeting.
“Katie Britt was not on that agenda, but some members had questions regarding the comments [by] Wade Perry,” Wahl said. “I spoke to Katie last night about those questions, and she immediately answered, which resolved the committee's request.”
“Katie has never supported the election of or voted for any Democrat, including Doug Jones,” Britt spokesman Sean Ross said. “This was clearly a stunt by the Alabama Democratic Party and a deceitful, last-minute attempt to sabotage her campaign, as they know she will be the strongest possible Republican nominee in November.”
When 1819 News called Perry for clarification on his comments, he said he was busy and unavailable to talk. When asked if there might be a better time, Perry replied, “Probably not.”
A Steering Committee member said Sunday’s heated discussion was about whether to seek more information from Britt or ignore Perry’s comments.
“If we did, it has nothing to do with support for Mo or anything else," the member told 1819 News. "It’s the fact that we have already in previous times set precedent by removing a national figure’s wife from the ballot because of her involvement with the Doug Jones race."
In 2017, the Steering Committee voted to deny ballot access to Gina Dearborn, wife of Rick Dearborn, a former White House Deputy Chief of Staff to President Donald Trump and former staffer for Senator Jeff Sessions.
The Steering Committee also denied former State Rep. Chad Fincher in his efforts to be elected to the state Republican Executive Committee. Both Dearborn and Fincher were denied ballot access due to public support for Doug Jones.
A Steering Committee Member involved in Sunday’s meeting said no serious potential outcomes were discussed in regard to Britt.
“It was not even mentioned that there would be any effort to try to remove her from the ballot,” a Steering Committee member told 1819 News.
Britt worked for Shelby until 2018. Shelby was vocal in his opposition to then-Republican candidate for Senate Roy Moore, reportedly casting an absentee ballot for an unnamed Republican write-in candidate instead of Moore, who was running against Jones.
Moore’s campaign was entrenched in scandal following allegations of sexual misconduct from women who described inappropriate relationships with him when they were teenagers. Moore denied all allegations.
In winning the Senate seat in that 2017 special election, Jones became the first Democrat to win statewide office in Alabama since 2008.
Earlier this year, the Alabama Republican Party removed four candidates from its primary ballot due to their prior support for Democrats, as reported by multiple news outlets. According to published reports, the party’s bylaws give the GOP's candidates committee broad discretion to disqualify candidates.
Alabama Republican Party’s Steering Committee includes 21 members and is tasked with defining the direction of the party.
The meeting Sunday was called to a determine a date to hear challenges to election results in four races from the May 24 primary. On June 25, the ALGOP will hear those challenges to results from races in Senate District 27 in east Alabama, House District 2 in north Alabama, and House districts 28 and 29 in northeast Alabama.
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