The prospect that Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) will be the Republican nominee on the November ballot to replace retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R) appears to be growing despite Donald Trump yanking his endorsement in mid-March, reports the New York Times.
Brooks initially received the former president's whole-hearted approval to run for the seat after making an appearance at the "Stop the Steal" rally that preceded the Capitol insurrection on Jan 6th, but then fell out of favor when his campaign didn't catch fire with voters.
Now, the Times' Trip Gabriel writes, the GOP lawmaker is surging in a tight race with two other frontrunners batting for the nomination in what the Associated Press has labeled a 'bitter' fight to the end with one GOP consultant claiming "The gloves have come off," in the battle for supremacy.
Noting that Brooks' campaign was reportedly "imploding" just weeks ago, Gabriel now writes, "Under a rain of attack ads, polls showed him falling behind two rivals. Former President Donald J. Trump humiliated Mr. Brooks by rescinding an earlier endorsement. But Mr. Brooks has staged a compelling comeback, with recent polling putting him in a statistical tie for the lead in a tight three-candidate race ahead of the primary on Tuesday."
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According to the report, Trump may have abandoned the controversial lawmaker who is also under investigation over his part in the Jan 6th riot, but so-called "Trump Republicans" are sticking with him despite the loss of the former president's backing.
As conservative talk show host Dale Jackson put it on Friday, "Brooks may be surging just at the right time."
"Mr. Brooks — who appeared at Mr. Trump’s Jan. 6 rally before the siege of the Capitol, where he goaded election deniers to start 'kicking ass' — has returned to contention not only despite Mr. Trump’s fickleness, but also in the face of opposition by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader. A super PAC aligned with Mr. McConnell has funneled $2 million to a group attacking Mr. Brooks in television ads," Gabriel writes before adding, "A polling average by Real Clear Politics showed Katie Britt, a former aide to Mr. Shelby, in the lead with 34 percent, Mr. Brooks with 29 percent and Mike Durant, a military contractor and Army veteran, with 24 percent. If no candidate consolidates more than 50 percent on Tuesday, the top two advance to a runoff on June 21."
Gabriel also notes in his report that Brooks' surge is another sign, like the primary loss of Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) this past week despite Trump's endorsement, that the former president's influence with voters may be subject to question by the GOP leadership and other candidates.
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