Alabama's 2022 GOP Senate primary is more than six months away, but it is shaping up to be a bruising primary fight.
Donald Trump is backing Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), who is running for the seat opened up when Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) announced he would not seek re-election.
But Shelby isn't going along with Trump's selection. Instead, he would prefer to be succeeded by former chief of staff Katie Britt.
"Retiring Sen. Richard C. Shelby has said he plans to spend $5 million of his campaign funds to help his former chief of staff in the Republican primary to replace him, according to two people familiar with the conversations. The massive infusion of cash could have a major impact in the hotly contested race, in which Rep. Mo Brooks, a top proponent of former president Donald Trump's election conspiracies, has struggled to keep up in fundraising after winning the former president's endorsement," The Washington Post reported Thursday.
Shelby has $9.7 million cash on hand in his campaign account and another $6.5 million in his leadership PAC.
In a sign of how the race may play out, Britt's campaign ripped Brooks.
"Katie's opponent is nowhere to be found on the campaign trail just like he's been asleep on the job for decades. He's the Joe Biden of Alabama: 40 years running for office, six terms in Congress, and nothing to show for it but empty words," Sean Ross said. "It is clear that Alabamians are ready for fresh blood, and that's why he is so panicked."
Trump has also had harsh words, viewing Britt's candidacy as a proxy for Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
"I see that the RINO Senator from Alabama, close friend of Old Crow Mitch McConnell, Richard Shelby, is pushing hard to have his 'assistant' fight the great Mo Brooks for his Senate seat," Trump said in a July statement.
"She is not in any way qualified and is certainly not what our Country needs or not what Alabama wants. For Mitch McConnell to be wasting money on her campaign is absolutely outrageous. Vote for Mo Brooks! He stands for America First, and everything Alabama wants. He also has my Complete and Total Endorsement," Trump said.
Brooks is also facing scrutiny for the January 6th insurrection and has had difficulty connecting with Trump's voters. At an August rally with the former president, Brooks was booed after urging Trump supporters to look to the future and put 2020 behind them.
Trump's endorsements haven't been that successful in Alabama.
"In deep-red and very Trump-y Alabama in 2017 in the special election created when Jeff Sessions (briefly) became attorney general, the president endorsed the appointed senator Luther Strange in the GOP primary and a runoff, and then endorsed the wild man who beat Strange, Judge Roy Moore, in the general election. He went zero-for-three," New York magazine writer Ed Kilgore noted in June.