The massive cash infusion from outgoing senator Richard C Shelby promises to tighten an already thin margin in Alabama’s 2020 GOP Senate primary
A retiring Republican senator from Alabama is reportedly prepared to spend $5m to help defeat the Donald Trump-backed congressman vying for his seat.
The massive cash infusion from US Senator Richard C Shelby, who announced his retirement in February, promises to tighten an already thin margin in Alabama’s 2020 GOP Senate primary.
Mr Trump’s pick for the seat, US Representative Mo Brooks, received his endorsement after speaking at a rally in support of the then-president on the morning of the 6 January Capitol riot.
But Mr Shelby, 87, is throwing his weight behind his former chief of staff Katie Britt instead, two sources with knowledge of the situation told Washington Post.
The newspaper reported that Mr Shelby has $9.7m cash on hand in his campaign account – $5m of which is slated to go to Ms Britt’s campaign.
Ms Britt has recently seen greater success with fundraising than Mr Brooks, bringing in more than $1.5m last quarter next to his $699,909.
In a speech after the quarterly totals were released, Mr Brooks linked Ms Britt’s success to “special interests”.
Mr Brooks is hoping that Mr Trump’s backing – earned after he told the 6 January rally: “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass” – will give him the momentum he needs to win the primary.
Mr Trump attacked Mr Shelby’s support of Ms Britt over the summer, accusing him of “wasting money” and calling her an “assistant”.
Responding to the Post’s report on Mr Shelby on Wednesday, Mr Brooks said he wasn’t surprised.
“I entered this race after factoring in that Richard Shelby would probably put millions in on Katie Britt’s behalf,” he told the newspaper. “They are hand in glove.”
A spokesperson for Mr Shelby declined to comment on the spending plans, telling the Post: “The Senator’s support for Katie is well known. He will continue to back her as the race develops in whatever ways are most appropriate, as he believes she is the best candidate to serve the people of Alabama.”