Throughout primary season, FiveThirtyEight and ABC News have been covering the GOP candidates who believe former President Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen. This week, politics and technology reporter Kaleigh Rogers talks about one of the matchups between two Big Lie supporters in Alabama: Tuesday’s runoff for U.S. Senate between Rep. Mo Brooks and Katie Britt.
Last April, former President Donald Trump endorsed Rep. Mo Brooks in his campaign to become the Republican nominee for Senate in Alabama. But a year later, Trump rescinded that endorsement. And about two weeks ago, he endorsed Katie Britt, Brooks’s opponent in the runoff this week. Why did the former president turn his back on Brooks? According to Trump, it’s because Brooks wasn’t enthusiastic enough in his support of the “Big Lie.”
Throughout the primary season, FiveThirtyEight and ABC News have been tracking candidates who have either questioned Trump’s loss, said the 2020 election was illegitimate or took legal action to overturn its results. Here are some of the Big Lie believers we’ve identified who are running in primaries this week.
When Trump endorsed Britt, he took another opportunity to criticize Brooks, saying the congressman “backtracked and made a big mistake by going Woke.” He specifically referenced a rally in Alabama last summer, where Brooks said this about the 2020 election: “There are some people who are despondent about the voter-fraud election theft in 2020. Folks, put that behind you. [crowd boos] Put that behind you. Yes! Look forward! Look forward! Look forward!”
But here’s the thing, Brooks hasn’t exactly gone soft on the Big Lie. If anything, Trump rescinding his endorsement has only made Brooks double down on the false claims of a stolen election. Brooks even signed a sworn affidavit saying that he believes the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. Britt has been equally vocal in supporting the Big Lie, calling for an audit and saying she would have objected to the 2020 results had she been a senator at the time. So, regardless of the outcome of the race, the GOP Senate candidate will be a Big Lie supporter, even if they’re not up to Trump’s standards.
In fact, a Big Lie supporter will be the candidate regardless of the outcome in a few runoffs this week. Both candidates running in Alabama’s 5th Congressional District — Dale Strong and Casey Wardynski — have supported Trump’s false claims, with Strong posting on Facebook that Trump won and Wardynski claiming “leftists” stole the election. The same is true in the GOP runoff for Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, with both Vernon Jones and Mike Collins claiming Trump won in 2020.
So far this cycle, a large number of candidates who believe the Big Lie have won their primaries. For elections that had been called through June 13, 52 percent of Republican nominees have either said the election was stolen or questioned the results. If you want to see which candidates in your state support the Big Lie, follow along with FiveThirtyEight.