In Alabama GOP Senate runoff election, lone Brooks-Britt debate canceled, sides point fingers

Neither candidate receive 50% of vote in last month's multi-candidate primary, forcing June 21 runoff

Updated: June 3, 2022 - 10:28am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The lone debate between Alabama GOP Senate candidates Katie Britt and Rep. Mo Brooks has been canceled ahead of their June 21 runoff – resulting in the campaigns accusing each other of nixing the event.

Brooks, who finished roughly 15.5% behind Britt last month in the primary, has accused Britt of being "too scared to debate" and therefore canceling the debate.

Britt's campaign says Brooks is "desperate" to improve his odds before the June runoff and would use any debate as a platform to hurl ad hominem attacks.

"If she is too weak to stand on a stage and take Mo Brooks on, how can anyone expect her to take on Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders, or any of the other Socialist Democrats that are destroying America," Brooks said Thursday. "Katie Britt’s debate refusal is an admission of profound weakness at a time America needs fighters in the U.S. Senate, not pushovers."

A spokesman for Britt's campaign responded by saying, "Mo Brooks doesn’t want a debate; he wants a circus. Katie won’t participate in the final circus act of Mo’s career – she will continue to work tirelessly and travel to every corner of Alabama to share her conservative message, listen to Alabamians, and answer their questions."

The Alabama Daily News and Gray Television planned to hold the candidate forum June 14.

The candidates are vying for the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Richard Shelby, for whom Shelby was a chief of staff.

Brooks was infamously unendorsed by former President Trump after campaign statements calling for voters to move beyond the 2020 elections in which Trump lost. However, Brooks surged late in the primary to take second place.

Britt won 44.8% of the vote, compared to 29.1% for Brooks.

Whichever candidate wins the runoff will likely become the next state's next U.S. senator, considering its majority of likely voters are affiliated with the Republican Party.

Since the primary, Britt has received the endorsements of Arkansas GOP Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas GOP gubernatorial nominee Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Iowa GOP Sen. Joni Ernst.