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Shelby backs ex-aide over Trump-favored candidate in Alabama Senate race

The Hill logo The Hill 6 days ago Mychael Schnell
Richard Shelby wearing a suit and tie: Shelby backs ex-aide over Trump-favored candidate in Alabama Senate race © Greg Nash Shelby backs ex-aide over Trump-favored candidate in Alabama Senate race

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) says he will support his former chief of staff Katie Boyd Britt in the race to succeed him in the Senate, opting to not back former President Trump's endorsed candidate, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.).

Shelby's office confirmed to The Hill that the senator said he will throw his support behind Britt, who officially announced her candidacy on Tuesday, following an interview he gave to Politico.

"She's like family. She'd make a good candidate. She's probably the best-qualified candidate to come along in a long time," Shelby told the news outlet.

"I'd support her, I'd vote for her," he added.

The 87-year-old senator announced in February that he would not run for reelection in 2022, signaling the end of his tenure in Congress, which has spanned six terms.

In March, Brooks, the six-term congressman from Alabama, announced that he would run for Shelby's seat at an event alongside Stephen Miller, a longtime adviser to Trump.

Less than a month later, Trump endorsed Brooks.

Shelby was a reliable Trump vote in the Senate, voting in line with the former president's positions 90.7 percent of the time.

He did, however, break ranks last year when he supported former Attorney General Jeff Sessions' unsuccessful comeback bid, and in 2017 when he refused to back Republican Roy Moore in Alabama's special election, who ultimately went on to lose the race.

Shelby would not take aim at Brooks during his interview with Politico, but did make it clear that he would not try to tip the scale throughout the campaign in favor of his former aide.

"Could be an interesting race. We'll have to see how it develops," Shelby said.

"She's got to run her own campaign, I'm not running her campaign. She's got her own people," he added.

Britt served as Shelby's chief of staff from 2016 and 2018, and was also a press aide for him earlier in her career, according to Politico. Most recently, she was the president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama.

Lynda Blanchard, a businesswoman and former President Trump's ambassador to Slovenia, is also vying for the Republican nomination.

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