On May 24, Alabama Republicans re-nominated the oldest governor in the country in incumbent Kay Ivey, but on June 21, voters went with youth.
After a year of hard campaigning and raising millions of dollars, 40-year-old Katie Boyd Britt won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, easily besting Congressman Mo Brooks (R-AL05).
If she wins in November – as expected in heavily Republican Alabama – Britt will become the youngest senator from the state since Donald Stewart in 1978, and one of the youngest Senators in Washington, D.C. She will also become Alabama’s first elected female U.S. Senator.
According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings, Britt raised nearly $7.5 million during the GOP primary election cycle, a record for an Alabama election. The race became one of the most expensive in the nation this year, with over $24 million being spent by candidates and super PACs.
Britt addressed the crowd at her victory party in Montgomery after the election was called by the Associated Press at 8:28 p.m. and State Sen. Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman) introduced Britt to the jubilant crowd at her packed victory party.
“The future of Alabama looks bright after tonight,” said Sen. Gudger. “I am proud to have endorsed Katie Britt.”
“Well, well, well. Thank you, Alabama. Thank you, thank you we did it. You did it,” Britt said. “First and foremost, I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
“When we got in this race no one thought this was possible. We knew we were the underdogs.”
Britt acknowledged that when her campaign began Brooks was polling at 60%.
A year later Britt won 65% of the vote.
Britt is a native of Coffee County. She is married to former University of Alabama and New England Patriots football player Wesley Britt. They have two children.
Britt mentioned some of the early criticism she faced as she campaigned, such as being from “the wrong part of the [state]” and the fact that the couple’s children are not yet grown.
“I am a momma on a mission,” Britt said. “Alabama’s future is worth fighting for, and our children are worth fighting for."
Britt thanked her husband Wesley for making this victory possible.
“Wesley resigned from his job [as a lobbyist for Alabama Power Company] for us to [run for Senate],” Britt said. “Wesley Britt, I could not do this without you. I am so proud that you chose me to be your wife.
“We chose to run an old school campaign visiting all 67 counties."
The youth movement in this runoff benefitted more than just Britt, who is 25 years younger than Brooks. Similarly, Wes Allen beat the much older Jim Zeigler for Secretary of State, and Andrew Sorrell beat the older Stan Cooke. It was Allen and Sorrell’s first statewide campaigns and Britt’s first campaign of any kind.
Britt said, “Alabama has spoken. We want new blood.
“I would like to thank Congressman Brooks for his hard work and service,” Britt said, pledging to work hard to get the support of Brooks’ supporters in the Nov. 8 general election where she still faces Democrat Dr. Will Boyd and Libertarian John Sophocleus.
Defeating Britt in the fall will be a challenge given the fundraising juggernaut she assembled in the primary.
Britt, who resigned her position as President and CEO of the powerful Business Council of Alabama to run for office, had the unwavering support of virtually every trade association group in Montgomery. She also has the full support of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and the resources in Washington at his disposal. She was also backed by incumbent Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama), the Alabama Farmer’s Federation, and a vast network of donors from all over the state of Alabama and beyond that raised tens of millions of dollars for her campaign and the super PACs who flooded Alabama’s various media streams with Britt ads and ads attacking her opponents, Brooks and veteran Mike Durant. As Brooks sank in the polls, former President Donald J. Trump (R) retracted his endorsement of Brooks. After polling showed Britt with 54% ten days ahead of the runoff, Trump endorsed Britt.
“Money matters,” Republican insider former State Rep. Perry O. Hooper Jr. (R-Montgomery) told 1819 News after the win. “Money is the mother’s milk of politics.”
Britt thanked Shelby not just for the win but for making her career path possible.
“To Sen. Shelby and Dr. Shelby who gave a college student a chance and changed what was possible in my life, [thank you],” Britt said.
Britt worked as a student intern for Shelby and then was hired as a staffer. After completing law school, Britt went back to work for Shelby this time as his Chief of Staff. Shelby also put pressure on BCA for a change in leadership, a job that went to Britt. Shelby early endorsed Britt for Senate and was unwavering in his support of her candidacy even when she was third in the polls behind both Brooks and Durant.
“I will work tirelessly to grow 22nd [century] opportunities for this state,” Britt promised. “We are going to go to the United States Senate to fight for you each and every day.”
“Britt [will be] the first woman elected to the Senate in the history of the state of Alabama and Kay Ivey [will be] the first woman to be re-elected as Governor in state history,” lobbyist and Britt supporter Chey Garrigan said. “I was proud to endorse both. Alabama chose two conservative women who articulated a bright future for the state of Alabama.” (Both Britt and Ivey will still have to face voters in the fall general election).
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