WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican backed by Donald Trump last minute prevailed in a second round of the Senate in Alabama on Tuesday. But in neighboring Georgia, the former president’s losing streak deepened.
Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser, meanwhile, moderate won her Democratic primariesoffering a new warning to progressives.
Takeaways from the final round of the by-elections:
LOYALTY WORKS A WAY
Throughout his life in business, entertainment and ultimately politics, Trump demanded loyalty from those around him. And over the decades, he has repeatedly shown that he is less eager to give back.
Rep. Mo Brooks, one of the former president’s most staunch defenders in Congress, felt the sting of that memory on Tuesday when he lost a run-off for the GOP nomination for a US Senate seat from Alabama. Trump initially supported Brooks, but withdrew that endorsement after the campaign got off to a lackluster start. Then, less than two weeks before the runoff, Trump backed Katie Britt, a candidate more oriented towards the GOP establishment but one whose victory seemed more certain.
Britt is now the priceless favorite in the scarlet state to the retiring Sen. Richard Shelbywho she used to work for.
Her win allows Trump to take the win — even if he waited until the last minute to back her. And it reinforces that Trump loyalty often flows in one direction.
On paper, Brooks checked all the boxes Trump is looking for. He pleaded with election deniers at a rally in Washington before the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol to “cut names and kick.” He voted in Congress against certifying president Joe Biden’s win. And he has remained a denier of the outcome of the 2020 election.
But Brooks also ended up in Trump’s bad graces after he said last August it was time to move on with the 2020 presidential race and focus on the upcoming election. Trump pointed to those comments to accuse Brooks of being “awake,” a dangerous label in conservative circles.
By focusing on adding to his streak of wins, Trump eventually joined a candidate who, while highly conservative, is supported by the GOP branch that the former president has been railing against for years. The irony was not lost on Brooks, someone so committed to Trump’s agenda that he has called himself “MAGA Mo.”
“We are sending to Washington, DC, the exact opposite of what we need in the United States Senate. But the voters have spoken,” he said in a concession speech. “They may not have spoken wisely.”
TRUMP DOWN IN GEORGIA
Trump extended his losing streak Georgia on Tuesday, after two House candidates he supported were blown out in the second round of the primaries, which continued the beating he received in the state last month.
Vernon Jones, a former Liberal Democrat turned MAGA fighter, was crushed by the truck company owner Mike Collins, while Jake Evans also lost dramatically to emergency room physician Rich McCormick.
Georgia has been a Trump fix since he lost the 2020 election and mounted a pressure campaign to get Republican leaders in the state to nullify the results. When they rejected his efforts, Trump’s interests shifted to retaliation. He recruited candidates to challenge Republican government Brian Kemp as well as GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s top election official. Both incumbents had the upper hand.
Trump’s meddling went so far as to ask Jones, who was initially a candidate for governor, to step aside for his chosen candidate, former Senator David Perdue, while showing his support for Jones if he instead runs for a seat in the United States. open house went.
Jones, the former director of DeKalb County, took up that offer, declaring himself the “Black Donald Trump!” as he challenges his opponents to “Come on, liars!”
But Jones’ baggage, including allegations that he raped a woman in 2004, became a risk in the campaign. The woman dropped the charges against Jones, but never recanted. Jones said the sexual encounter was consensual. But Collins, whose late father represented Georgia in the US House in the 1990s, handed out rape whistles to keep the accusation fresh.
Meanwhile, in the other Atlanta area, McCormick, the doctor, easily defeated Trump-backed Jake Evans. McCormick’s name was already well known to many in the district after they narrowly lost a high profile 2020 House race to Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux. He was supported by the influential conservative group Club For Growth.
WARNING FOR PROGRESSIVES
In Washington, Bowser fend off a progressive rival in the city’s Democratic primary and overcame a tough primary campaign centered on rising crime.
Her victory pretty much guarantees her a third straight term as mayor in the heavily-democratic city. The results could also be interpreted as the final warning to progressives that voters in the party’s own grassroots are wary of their criminal justice policies at a time of mounting public safety concerns.
Bowser defeated Councilman General Robert White, who harshly criticized her response to rising violent crime rates, and Councilor Trayon White, who represents Ward 8, the poorest and most crime-ridden area in the district.
The first unfolded as many progressive cities struggle to tackle crime.
Much has happened under Bowser’s watch for the citizens of the nation’s capital. The murder rate has been rising for four years. The 2021 homicide rate of 227 was the highest since 2003. And in January, a DC Council candidate Nate Fleming was carjacked at gunpoint.
But Bowser, a moderate, took a pragmatic approach that may have helped her Tuesday.
She largely stood behind her police department during a time when activists were calling to punish the police, and engaged in public battles with the DC council over the police budget. She quietly replaced an older white police chief with a younger black successor. She also pushed for funding to hire hundreds of additional police officers over the next decade.