GOP hopefuls face off in Alabama Senate primary

Party nominations for the seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby will be the top draw on Tuesday's primary ballot

Via AP news wire
Tuesday 24 May 2022 05:09

The Republican primary for the seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby in Alabama has become a bitter, high-dollar race as candidates jockey for the nomination.

The three highest-profile candidates in Tuesday’s primary are U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, who won — and then lost — former President Donald Trump’s backing; Katie Boyd Britt, Shelby’s former chief of staff; and Mike Durant, the owner of an aerospace company who is best known as the helicopter pilot shot down and captured in the events that inspired “Black Hawk Down.” Lillie Boddie, Karla M. Dupriest and Jake Schafer are also seeking the GOP nomination.

Trump had initially endorsed Brooks in the race but rescinded that backing in March, citing unhappiness with Brooks’ performance and accusing the conservative congressman of going “woke” for suggesting it was time to move on from Trump’s 2020 election fraud claims.

Both Britt and Durant have courted Trump’s nod, but he has not committed to either.

The fractured field increases the chances that the race will go to a June 21 runoff, which is required if neither of the top two finishers captures more than 50% of the initial vote.

Shelby, one of the Senate’s most senior members, announced last year that he would not seek reelection in 2022, igniting the messy GOP primary at a time when the national Republican Party is trying to chart a direction after Trump’s departure.

The winner will face the Democratic nominee in November. Will Boyd, Brandaun Dean and Lanny Jackson are vying for the Democratic nomination.

Outside groups have pumped more than $20 million into the Alabama race to either support or oppose one of the frontrunners.

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