Former President Donald Trump has not yet followed through on his promise made almost two months ago to endorse a new candidate in Alabama’s Republican Senate primary.
And based on the fact that he planned, then canceled, an Alabama rally in June just before the date for what’s expected to be a runoff in the primary, indications are that he won’t give his backing to a candidate.
In the March 23 announcement withdrawing his support for U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, Trump concluded with this: “I will be making a new endorsement in the near future!”
It hasn’t happened and the Republican primary is two weeks from today.
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The GOP primary is essentially a three-candidate race at this point with Brooks, Katie Britt and Mike Durant — though there will be six candidates on the ballot.
Both Britt and Durant said they met with Trump before he un-endorsed Brooks. Neither meeting, though, has led to an endorsement so far.
“I’d certainly welcome President Trump’s endorsement,” Britt , former chief of staff for Sen. Richard Shelby and former president of the Business Council of Alabama, said in a statement to AL.com.
“As Wesley and I have discussed with the president, we’re working tirelessly on the campaign trail, traveling to all 67 counties to share our conservative message and our vision for the future of our state. The incredible momentum we’re seeing every day on the ground makes it clear that Alabamians know that I am the best candidate to fight for the America First agenda, defend our Christian conservative values, and preserve the American Dream for our children and our children’s children.”
A Durant campaign spokesperson said in a statement to AL.com: “Unlike Katie Boyd Britt, Mike Durant has campaigned from Day 1 on President Trump’s accomplishments, agenda, and priorities.”
In April, the American Freedom Tour announced a Trump rally in Birmingham for June 18 – three days before the scheduled primary runoff in Alabama.
That particular date seemed to suggest the former president planned a major push for his candidate – assuming there was a runoff and that his preferred candidate qualified for the runoff.
Two weeks later, that rally was canceled and a new one was set for Mobile on July 9 – after the Republican primary would have been settled. Then two days after that, the Mobile event was scuttled.
Could a series of recent Alabama Senate polls move Trump to action?
Polls indicate that Durant’s double-digit lead in March has evaporated and a poll released Tuesday had the Huntsville business executive and former Army aviator in third place behind frontrunning Britt and second-place Brooks.
Assuming no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters in the primary advance to the primary.
The three polls in recent days – including one commissioned by the pro-Britt Alabama Forestry political action committee – has Britt as the clear leader while Brooks and Durant are in a neck-and-neck battle for second place.
Both Britt and Brooks have pointed to the fact that a Super PAC backing Durant has ties to the anti-Trump Lincoln Project. Durant in recent days has denounced the Lincoln Project.
Brooks spokesman Will Hampson also pointed to, in particular, a 2011 speech by Durant in which he appeared to support gun control to help reduce crime in certain U.S. cities.
Durant has said the comment in the speech has been “mischaracterized.”
“It’s hard to see President Trump ever supporting him,” Hampson said.
Hampson also said that Britt is supported by U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell – who Trump sees as an enemy.
McConnell ally Sen. John Cornyn of Texas has described Britt or Durant as “no-lose” candidates in the Senate.
Brooks is also campaigning on a “Fire McConnell” platform, pushing for someone other than the Senate Minority Leader to become Majority Leader if Republicans take control of the upper chamber.
“The only actual conservative choice in this race, and the only candidate surging in polling, remains Mo Brooks, and we’re confident President Trump and his team will see that,” Hampson said.