The lone debate between Alabama GOP Senate candidates Katie Britt and Mo Brooks has been cancelled ahead of their June 21 runoff – resulting in the campaigns accusing each other of nixing the event.
Brooks, who finished 15.5% behind Britt last month in the primary, has accused Britt of being “too scared to debate” and therefore canceling the debate.
Britt’s campaign says Brooks is “desperate” to improve his odds before the June runoff and would use any debate as a platform to hurl ad hominem attacks.
“If she is too weak to stand on a stage and take Mo Brooks on, how can anyone expect her to take on Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders, or any of the other Socialist Democrats that are destroying America,” Brooks said Thursday. “Katie Britt’s debate refusal is an admission of profound weakness at a time America needs fighters in the U.S. Senate, not pushovers.”
A spokesman for Britt’s campaign responded by saying, “Mo Brooks doesn’t want a debate; he wants a circus. Katie won’t participate in the final circus act of Mo’s career – she will continue to work tirelessly and travel to every corner of Alabama to share her conservative message, listen to Alabamians, and answer their questions.”
The debate was first announced on May 24 – the same date as the primary – and was to be hosted by the Alabama Daily News in conjunction with Gray Television.
The candidates are vying for the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Richard Shelby, for whom Shelby was a chief of staff.
Brooks was infamously unendorsed by former President Trump after campaign statements calling for votes to move beyond the 2020 elections in which Trump lost. However, surged late in the primary to take second place.
Britt won 44.8% of the vote, compared to 29.1% for Brooks.
Whichever candidate wins the runoff will likely become the next state’s next U.S. senator, considering its majority of likely voters are affiliated with the Republican Party.
Since the primary, Britt has received the endorsements of Arkansas GOP Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas GOP gubernatorial nominee Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Iowa GOP Sen. Joni Ernst.