MAGA orphan Brooks makes late surge to narrow gap in Alabama GOP Senate primary

Trump said Brooks went "woke" in asking voters to move past the 2020 elections, which the president maintains were marred by fraud.

Updated: May 24, 2022 - 10:41am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Alabama GOP Rep. Mo Brooks has made the state's GOP Senate primary a three-person race going into Tuesday, climbing back in the polls after President Trump rescinded his endorsement in March. 

The six-term congressman entered the primary last year as presumptive frontrunner with all the right credentials — chiefly being a reliable vote for the House's most conservative wing, then getting the Trump endorsement in April 2021 in a state that hasn't picked a Democrat for president since 1976.

That all went sideways in March when Brooks — among the most outspoken about the 2020 election being stolen from Trump — told voters for the second time on the campaign trail that they must now look to the 2022 and 2024 elections.

Trump promptly pulled his endorsement, with Brooks already sagging in the polls and fundraising.

"Put that behind you, put that behind you," said Trump in announcing the decision, mimicking Brooks on the stump.

Two months later, polls show Brooks has made a stretch run and is now within single digits of leader Katie Britt, a former CEO of the Alabama Business Council and chief of staff for GOP Sen. Richard Shelby, whose retirement has opened the Senate seat. 

That's compared to late March when Emerson College Polling had him in last place, with less than 11% of the vote and trailing Britt by about 21 points.

The polls also also show candidate Michael Durant having led by as many as 10 points in late March but now in third place. 

Durant served in the Army for 22 years before starting an engineering firm. He was the helicopter pilot shot down in Somalia in 1993, which was depicted in the book and movie "Black Hawk Down." He also has the endorsement of former Trump White House National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn.

"He is back from the dead," former Trump strategist Steve Bannon recently said about Brooks on his "War Room" show on Real America's Voice live-stream TV network. "It's a great comeback he's had, but a big part of that is Durant's collapse."

Much of that comeback is being attributed to Brooks saying he's still the most pro-Trump candidate in the field and the continued support of the conservative, anti-tax group Club for Growth, which has reportedly pumped over $4 million into his campaign. 

On Monday, the Brooks campaign held events with GOP Sens. Rand Paul of (Ky.) and Ted Cruz (Texas).

The Democrat candidates are Will Boyd, Brandaun Dean and Lanny Jackson, with two independents also competing. 

A candidate needs a majority of votes to win the primary outright. Where no candidate reaches that threshold, the top two finishers go to a runoff on June 21.

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