Katie Boyd Britt emerged from the shadow of Alabama Senator Richard Shelby to stand in her own light as winner of the Republican Primary for U.S. Senate last night.
“It is clear that Alabama wants new blood,’’ said Britt, the 40-year-old former Chief of Staff to Shelby who captured 44.69% of the vote in yesterday’s primary. “It is clear they want a true Christian, Conservative Republican.
“I’m ready to go to Washington D.C. and shake it up!”
Before that can happen, Britt has to win a June 21 runoff date with second-place finisher Mo Brooks, the six-term U.S. Congressman from Huntsville who received 29.14% of the vote.
With 98% of votes counted, Britt had received 288,305 votes to 187,990 for Brooks, a significant advantage in a race that many predicted would be much closer. While Britt had been putting some distance between herself and the two other most serious contenders for the Senate seat, she out-performed the projections of those polls by double-digits, possibly getting a boost from the undecided voters who polled consistently between 12 and 30%.
So while the race to replace Shelby is not over, Britt’s performance at the polls gave her campaign a boost of momentum for this final stretch run.
“As we continue on this journey, we will do everything over the next 28 days to make it happen,’’ Britt said. “The future of the state is on that ballot.
“I’m looking forward to being back in front of the people of Alabama tomorrow. Nobody will work harder for them than me.”
Because of her past connection to Shelby and her role as President of the Business Council of Alabama, when Britt entered the race for the U.S. Senate last year she was often portrayed as Shelby’s hand-picked successor. Britt worked hard to separate herself from Shelby’s shadow, while still embracing what Shelby accomplished for the state.
Britt began her campaign far behind Brooks, the early front-runner in the race, but ran an old-style campaign of yard signs, billboards and “meet ‘n greets” in all 67 Alabama counties. She began rising in the polls in late April and pushed past Brooks and third-place finisher Mike Durant, a businessman and former Army helicopter pilot whose capture in Somalia was chronicled in “Black Hawk Down.”
However, Monday night Durant reportedly said if he didn’t make the runoff, he would be supporting Brooks in a runoff, targeting Britt’s campaign for spreading “attack ads” and “misinformation” that had hurt him at the polls. Durant received 150,405 votes in Tuesday’s primary, which combined with Brooks’ support could spell trouble for Britt – if indeed the turnout for a June 21 runoff were to draw the same number of voters.
Before an enthusiastic crowd at Montgomery’s Alley Station Warehouse, Britt took the podium with her husband, former University of Alabama and NFL lineman Wesley Britt, and her two children and was clearly overwhelmed at the level of support she had received after a contentious race.
“It was a surreal moment, bubbling in my own name this morning,” Britt said, after voting for herself at Montgomery’s Huntingdon College precinct this morning. “Growing up in Coffee County, I never imagined that I’d be on the ballot to serve as Alabama’s next U.S. Senator. My family and I are truly grateful for the outpouring of support, encouragement, and prayers from people across Alabama.”
As she surveyed the crowd of family and friends last night, she said, “This would not be possible without every one of you. … Who would have thought that a girl from the Wiregrass would be up here, leading in the United States’ Senate race?
“The American dream is alive and well in Alabama. … And we will fight for the American dream and our country every day going forward.”
Britt continued to litter her campaign speech with references to the policies of current President Joe Biden, border security, energy independence and support for the military.
She also began her campaign against Brooks, suggesting that her opponents’ campaign was “just one example of the way people say or do anything to benefit themselves politically, no matter what the truth actually is. It's always about them. Not about Alabama, not what’s best for America – it’s all about them. That is the very definition of a career politician.”
The race was one of the most expensive in Alabama history, with over $8.2 million having been spent in support of the GOP candidates.
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email Ray.Melick@1819News.com.
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