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Elections

Opinion | Katie Britt favored to capture Senate seat

Katie will hit the ground running and will be an effective, conservative voice, and advocate for Alabama.

Republican Senate candidate Katie Britt

Katie Britt is headed to a likely victory to fill our U.S. Senate seat in next Tuesday’s June 21 runoff.

The 40 year old, first time candidate garnered an amazing 45 percent of the vote against two major candidates on May 24. She finished far ahead of second place finisher Mo Brooks at 29 percent and third placeholder Mike Durant at 23 percent.  She almost beat them without a runoff. Katie Britt carried 62 of the 67 counties in Alabama and barely lost the other five by a slim margin. Katie won overwhelmingly in most of the populous GOP counties in the state. As excepted, she ran very well in her native Wiregrass receiving 63 percent in her home county of Coffee.

To the contrary, her opponent in the runoff, second place finisher Mo Brooks, barely carried his home county of Madison by a 39 to 36 margin. In adjacent Limestone, a suburb county of Madison, the vote count was 7,130 for Brooks to 7,100 for Britt – a 30 vote margin. In short, Brooks lost his own congressional district to Katie Britt. It appears that home folks know you best.

Those of us who have followed politics in Alabama and especially in southeast Alabama have watched Katie grow up in Enterprise. We have all said she has had governor or senator written all over her. She has been a leader her entire life. She was the leader of everything at Enterprise High School, she was Governor of Girls State, then she was President of the Student Government Association at Alabama.

Soon after graduating from law school, she went to Washington and served five years as Chief of Staff to Senator Richard Shelby. She is about to take that seat in the U.S. Senate. She is scripted for the role. Katie will hit the ground running and will be an effective, conservative voice, and advocate for Alabama.

One of the primary reasons Katie won so overwhelmingly is that she outworked all of the others. She started over a year ago, and worked all 67 counties in the state – especially the rural counties. She won the endorsement of the Alabama Farmers Federation the old fashioned way. She got out and earned it. She started early and stayed late. She built a grassroots organization throughout the state, and it propelled her to a tremendous lead on May 24, and it will carry her over the line next week.

Katie’s opponent, Mo Brooks, is a colorful character almost comedic. During his almost 40 years in Alabama politics, he has built a legacy as a right-wing, ineffective, ideological gadfly. He has never passed a bill in his 16 years in the legislature or 12 years in Congress. He is unbelievably unashamed of his lack of effectiveness or achievement. He likes the mantle of being a right-wing ineffective nut.

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Mo and I served together in the Alabama House of Representatives for 16 years. He was immediately recognized as someone who wanted to accomplish nothing for his Huntsville district but wanted to sit on the back row and keep our voting record and rank as us on how conservative we were based on his criteria. You can only imagine how popular he was in the Alabama House. Mo could not have passed a bill or gotten anything done for Huntsville if he had wanted to. In fact, if we had a bill to pass we would quietly say to Mo, “I’d like for you to vote for my bill, but please don’t speak for it.”

Mo has built on his reputation as an ineffective right wing nut during his tenure in Washington. They have written him off as a crazy gadfly. Both the Republican and Democratic U.S. Senate leadership in Washington would put Mo off in a corner and laugh at him. This would not be good for a state that depends on federal defense dollars to endure. He would be an albatross for our state. When asked about our U.S. Senate race a year ago, when Mo looked like a player, the witty and wise Louisiana Republican Senator John Kennedy quipped “A U.S. Senate Seat is a terrible thing to waste.”

Folks, under the entrenched Senate Seniority system, Alabama would probably be better served with a 40 year old vibrant, able and conservative senator who can build power and seniority than a 69 year old gadfly relegated to the corner of the Senate, who would continue to vote against Alabama interest like defense and agriculture. Mo’s allegiance would be to the clandestine, right-wing Club for Growth rather than the interests of Alabamians.

See you next week.

Written By

Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.

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