G.O.P. Elevates Diverse Candidate Slate in Southern Primaries

Republicans elevated a slate of diverse, young candidates in primaries across the South on Tuesday.


Republicans elevated a slate of diverse, young candidates in primaries across the South on Tuesday.

  • In the night’s marquee race, former Alabama Business Council CEO Katie Britt stomped Rep. Mo Brooks in the G.O.P. primary runoff for the right to succeed Sen. Richard Shelby (R). Britt, 40, will be the Senate’s youngest female member should she win in November.
  • Virginia Republican voters nominated two women to contest the state’s most competitive swing districts. Jen Kiggans, a state senator and Navy veteran, will challenge Rep. Elaine Luria (D) for southwest Virginia’s 2nd District.
  • Prince William County supervisor Yesli Vega won the right to challenge Rep. Abigail Spanberger in Northern Virginia’s 7th District. Vega, the daughter of Salvadoran refugees and a deputy sheriff, was supported by Sen. Ted Cruz.
  • Vega, Kiggins, and 25-year Navy veteran Hung Cao, who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Vietnam and is running in Virginia’s 10th District, all have a credible chance of flipping their districts red in November.
  • Both of Donald Trump’s endorsed candidates lost by substantial margins in Georgia’s G.O.P. runoff elections for solidly Republican open seats. Physician Rich McCormick smashed the son of a prominent G.O.P. donor Jake Evans by a margin of 66.5%-33.5% in the 6th District.
  • In the 10th District, trucking company owner Mike Collins smashed Trump-backed Vernon Jones, a former Democrat, by a punishing 74.5%-25.5% margin after a nasty campaign.
  • Army veteran Chris West narrowly defeated African American veteran Jeremy Hunt for the Republican nod in southwest Georgia’s newly competitive 2nd District. West will face longtime Rep. Sanford Bishop in November.
  • Madison County Commission chair Dale Strong won the G.O.P. runoff to succeed Brooks in the heavily Republican Huntsville, Alabama-area 5th District.
  • In Georgia’s Democratic primary runoff, Stacey Abrams’ slate of candidates defeated their rivals ahead of Georgia’s competitive general elections.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • The New York Times attributed Britt’s victory to her ability to “leverage her Alabama connections and political savvy,” noting Trump and her husband, a retired NFL player, had a positive exchange early in her campaign for the job.
  • Politico called the Alabama G.O.P. primary the race that “divided MAGA world” after Trump turned on Brooks, a longtime MAGA loyalist.
  • CNN emphasized Trump-backed candidates’ defeats in Georgia and covered the new swing district match-ups in more detail.



  • Fox News covered Katie Britt’s victory speech. Britt called her victory “surreal” and said it was an indication Alabama wanted “new blood” in the Senate.
  • Breitbart observed that Trump-backed candidates won in Virginia and Alabama but were defeated in Georgia.
  • The Washington Examiner tracked “what you missed” from Tuesday’s primaries, including: a 2020 election skeptic winning the G.O.P. nod for Alabama Secretary of State and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser winning renomination against 2 Democratic opponents.

Author’s Take

Katie Britt will be the Senate’s youngest female lawmaker when she assumes office in January. Given her status representing a solidly Republican state, she will likely be in the Senate for as long as she wants. Britt’s meteoric rise and political savvy instantly mark her as a star G.O.P. recruit in a year with several notable recruiting misfires for Senate Republicans. Should Britt live up to her promise, a presidential run would not be out of the question for Alabama’s likely next senator. She is one to watch.


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© Dominic Moore, 2022