An enthusiastic crowd of supporters gathered in support of Congressman Mo Brooks’ run for the United States Senate at the main Ballroom of the Huntsville Botanical Gardens Tuesday evening. Before the polls closed, Martha Brooks, the candidate’s wife, told 1819 News that she was “cautiously optimistic" and that “the polls were consistently trending upward; we think we’re peaking at just the right time."
Optimism was even higher among the large crowd as the vote totals flashed across large video screens at the event. As the vote totals from around the state were displayed on the two large video screens inside the ballroom, Brooks supporter Will Smith told 1819 News that “…the Congressman is well-positioned for the runoff.”
Smith was right.
It was 10:14 p.m. when Brooks stepped up to the podium with Martha standing by his side and most of his children and grandchildren standing behind him.
He told the cheering crowd, “Two months ago, the experts declared our campaign was dead in the water. Today, just call me Lazarus! Back from the dead, resurrected by Alabama citizens who figured out who the real MAGA conservative is and voted for America First and Mo Brooks.”
Brooks will now face off against Katie Britt, the candidate endorsed by incumbent Senator Richard Shelby, in a runoff election for the Republican nomination next month.
Brooks was referring to his resurgence after former President Donald Trump rescinded his April 2021 endorsement of the Brooks campaign in March of this year. Trump pulled his endorsement while opinion poll numbers seemed to point toward a slump in public support for Brooks. Trump also expressed his disappointment that the Brooks campaign appeared to back away from claims that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen by Democrats.
Brooks supporter Becky Manning of Cullman had an emphatic message for former President Trump before she left the venue with her husband Tuesday night: “President Trump, that was a mistake to withdraw your endorsement of Mo Brooks. I’ve loved you and I’ve loved your family, but that was a big mistake, and I hope, President Trump, that you will back the only MAGA person we’ve got in Alabama, and that is Mo Brooks.”
Brooks received a phone call from campaign opponent Mike Durant, who fell behind Brooks in the vote tally and conceded earlier in the evening, only a few minutes after Brooks told the crowd that,
“I applaud Mike Durant, who honorably served in America’s military, helped build Pinnacle Solutions, creating hundreds of jobs for Alabama citizens, and who was dishonestly and unfairly hammered by countless negative attack ads, crafted by the Mitch McConnell-Katie Britt team," Brooks said. "I hope the voters who supported Mike Durant will look at the savagery of the Mitch McConnell-Katie Britt machine and reject it, and the best way to reject this kind of dirty, mudslinging politics, is to reject the candidate on whose behalf these kind of antics are promoted.”
A.J. Revera of Madison pointed to Brooks track record as the main reason he expects him to win the runoff against Britt,
“I think his proven track record is something that he has that Katie Britt does not have," said Revera. "He is the only conservative that’s actually running in this race.”
Sara Williamson of Steele said, “I am excited because Congressman Brooks is the person that we need to represent us in Washington…We’re searching for answers. We’re searching for ways out of the current situation in this country, and Congressman Mo Brooks is the one for Alabama to send to the Senate.”
The six-term Alabama 5th District Congressman Brooks had picked up eleventh-hour endorsements from high profile Republican U.S. Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas Monday. Such endorsements from high-profile figures are not an unprecedented thing, particularly because Brooks is a staunch defender of Trump. Brooks was subpoenaed earlier this month by the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol to appear before that committee to testify about his knowledge of and involvement in the effort to overturn the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election that resulted in the election of President Joe Biden.
Brooks has experienced uphill election battles before. In fact, Brooks became the first Freshman Republican Congressman to represent the 5th District since 19th Century Reconstruction when he avoided a runoff by winning 51% of the votes in his successful 2010 Republican campaign against then-incumbent Congressman Parker Griffith and Les Phillip. Brooks' 51% was uncomfortably close to forcing an expensive and tough runoff campaign, but rules then and now award the party nomination to any candidate who wins 50% plus one vote in the Republican Primary.
Brooks unsuccessfully ran for the US Senate once before after former Sen. Jeff Sessions gave up his seat when Trump chose him to join his administration as the U.S. Attorney General in 2017. During that late 2017 Republican Primary campaign for the Republican special election, Brooks competed against the interim U.S. Senator Luther Strange, who had been appointed to serve out the remainder of Sessions’ Senate term by former Gov. Robert Bentley, and former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. None of those three had enough votes to win that primary outright, so Moore and Strange faced off in a runoff primary election that Moore won before he eventually lost the general election to Democrat Doug Jones by less than a 2% margin in December 2017. Interestingly, Moore won an endorsement from President Trump, who initially supported Strange in the primary, but both men failed in their bid to win the Senate seat.
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email Jim.McDade@1819News.com
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