NASCAR Cup Series YellaWood 500

Katie Britt becomes 1st Republican woman to claim Alabama Senate seat

MONTGOMERY, Ala (AP) — Republican Katie Britt has won the U.S. Senate race in Alabama, becoming the first woman elected to the body from the state.

Britt will fill the seat held by Richard Shelby, her one-time boss who is retiring after 35 years in the Senate. Britt was Shelby’s chief of staff before leaving to take the helm of a state business lobby. Britt defeated Democrat Will Boyd and Libertarian John Sophocleus.

Britt, 40, cast herself as part of a new generation of conservative leaders and will become one of the Senate’s youngest members. She will be the first Republican woman to hold one of the state’s Senate seats. The state’s previous female senators, both Democrats, had been appointed.

LIVE RESULTS: 2022 midterm election results and interactive maps

“No one will worker harder than me in the United States Senate,” Britt told supporters at her victory party in downtown Montgomery. “I am going to listen to you, not lecture you. I know that every one of you is not going to agree with me on every single issue and that’s OK. I’m going to be working for all Alabamians.”

Britt, who noted her early dismal poll numbers and how some initially dismissed her notion of running for Senate, said her campaign is “proof that the American dream is still alive.”

“I am going to be a voice for parents and families and hard-working Alabamians across this state, and I’m going to work tirelessly every single day to make Alabama proud,” she said.

Fueled by deep pockets and deep ties to business and political leaders, Britt secured the GOP nomination after a heated and expensive primary. She was first in the initial round of voting and then defeated six-term Rep. Mo Brooks in a primary runoff.

WATCH LIVE: 2022 Midterm Elections | PBS NewsHour Special Coverage

Brooks, who ran under the banner “MAGA Mo” — Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again campaign slogan — and was initially endorsed by the former president, had been an early favorite in the race. But Brooks faltered under a barrage of attack ads and lackluster fundraising. As Britt surged in the polls, Trump rescinded his endorsement of Brooks and swung his support to Britt.

Britt began her political career working for Shelby. She thanked the outgoing senior senator for taking a chance on her 20 years ago and said he was the greatest statesman the state has known.

The senator-elect was introduced by her husband Wesley Britt, a former football player for the New England Patriots and the University of Alabama, who said his best title is, “Katie’s husband.”

Flanked by her husband and two-school-age children, and with her speech occasionally punctuated by the sound of children popping the falling red, white and blue balloons that fell to celebrate her victory, Britt said 2022 was the year of the parent and called herself a “Mama on a mission” to get things done in Washington.

You can also follow the NewsHour’s live coverage on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok, and see highlights on our Instagram.