Alabama voters head to the polls in heated Republican primaries for Senate, governor

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Residents in Alabama are taking to polls across the state Tuesday to vote for their favored candidates in a number of primary elections, with a focus being placed on two major Republican primary elections – one for a U.S. Senate seat soon to be vacated by retiring Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and the other for the governor’s mansion.

Leading contenders for the Republican nomination in the Senate race are Katie Boyd Britt, who once led the Business Council of Alabama; Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., an outspoken conservative in Congress who received an endorsement from former President Trump but later lost it; and Mike Durant, a business owner in the state and a former Army pilot who was involved in the “Black Hawk Down” incident.

Other individuals seeking to obtain the GOP nomination in the Senate race includes Lillie Boddie, Karla DuPriest and Jake Schafer.

Observers say it’s hard to predict whether the nomination will be settled in Tuesday’s primary. The fractured field increases the chances that the race will go to a June 21 runoff, which is required unless one candidate captures more than 50% of Tuesday’s vote.

Alabama Republican Senate candidate and honorary starter, Katie Britt is introduced on stage during pre-race ceremonies prior to the NASCAR Cup Series.

Alabama Republican Senate candidate and honorary starter, Katie Britt is introduced on stage during pre-race ceremonies prior to the NASCAR Cup Series.
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Trump has weighed in on several races taking place in Alabama on Tuesday and initially endorsed Brooks last year. That endorsement was later rescinded by Trump after he accused Brooks of going “woke” when he told voters in the state it was time to place focus on the 2022 and 2024 elections. Brooks was one of few members in Congress who offered overwhelming support for Trump following his loss in the 2020 presidential election.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., speaks in Huntsville, Alabama, U.S. March 22, 2021.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., speaks in Huntsville, Alabama, U.S. March 22, 2021.

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Although Trump has not publicly redirected his endorsement to Britt or Durant, Britt told Fox News Digital last week that she’s had the opportunity to update him on the race and touted herself as “the best candidate to advance the America First agenda.” If elected, Britt would become the first female from Alabama to obtain a seat in the U.S. Senate.

(Durant Campaign / Getty Images / Britt Campaign)

Durant has faced numerous battles during his campaign for the Senate, with questions about out of state donations and potential ties to a Super PAC being at the forefront. 

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While most eyes remain laser-focused on the Republican race for Senate, others are now taking into consideration that incumbent Republican Gov. Kay Ivey, who has largely refused to debate her opponents, could find herself in a runoff election.

Ivey, who formerly served as state treasurer and lieutenant governor for the state, became Alabama’s 54th governor in 2017 after then-Gov. Robert Bentley resigned due to a sex scandal involving a political aide. She was first elected to the position in 2018.

Gov. Kay Ivey takes questions from reporters during a press conference at the Alabama State Capitol Building in Montgomery, Ala., on Wednesday, April 7, 2021.

Gov. Kay Ivey takes questions from reporters during a press conference at the Alabama State Capitol Building in Montgomery, Ala., on Wednesday, April 7, 2021.
(Reuters)

Billing her tenure at the helm of the state in campaign ads as “Alabama’s most conservative governor,” Ivey has remained largely in step with Alabamians as she opposed policies offered by the Biden administration. But her handling of COVID-19 and placing blame on the unvaccinated for the continuation of the pandemic did not resonate well with many voters in the state.

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Last July, Ivey pleaded with voters in the state to get vaccinated as she insisted that “folks are supposed to have common sense.” At the time, Ivey said it was “time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the vaccinated folks” and claimed the unvaccinated residents in Alabama were “letting us down.”

Ivey faces a number of opponents who have received praise throughout the state in recent months, including Tim James, a businessman and the son of former Alabama Governor Fob James; Lynda Blanchard, a businesswoman who served as the United States Ambassador to Slovenia from 2019 until 2021; and Lew Burdette, a Vestavia Hills native and the former chief operating officer for Books-A-Million.

Other races taking place in the state on Tuesday include the GOP primary for Secretary of State, as well as GOP primary races for certain U.S. House seats.

The two leading Republican contenders in the race for Secretary of State are State Auditor Jim Zeigler and state Rep. Wes Allen.

Exterior view of the Alabama State Capitol on March 22, 2020 in Montgomery, Alabama.

Exterior view of the Alabama State Capitol on March 22, 2020 in Montgomery, Alabama.
(Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

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Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., who represents the state’s 3rd Congressional District and has received an endorsement from Trump, aims to hold onto his position in the House on Tuesday as he faces his Republican challenger Michael Joiner.

The House seat for the 5th Congressional District, which is currently represented by Brooks, is also up for grabs on Tuesday and features a number of Republicans who hope to take on the position.

Fox News’ Brandon Gillespie and The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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