Senate runoff debate off after Britt says Brooks wants ‘circus’

Senate runoff debate off after Britt says Brooks wants ‘circus’

By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – There won’t be a runoff debate in the Republican race for U.S. Senate.

Alabama Daily News and Gray Television (WBRC, WSFA, WAFF, WALA, WTVY) had planned a forum for candidates Katie Britt and Mo Brooks for June 14. However, that plan fell apart over the last week after discussions with the campaigns.

Sean Ross, a spokesman for the Britt campaign explained that Britt would not participate in a face-off with Brooks because they believe the Huntsville congressman “wants a circus” and that “there is no way a constructive or substantive debate can occur…”

“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,” Ross said in a statement to ADN.

Many news outlets and the ALGOP had pursued a debate, but the ADN/Gray TV forum was the only one on the books.

In response, the Brooks campaign accused Britt of eluding pointed questions.

“Britt is hiding because she’s scared of her record, but Mo Brooks is proud of his and is ready to debate her any time, anywhere,” Brooks spokesman Will Hampson said. “If she gets permission to debate from Mitch McConnell, Lisa Murkowski, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, and her other RINO funders, she’ll know where to find us.”

Alabama Republican Party Chairman John Wahl had held out hopes of arranging a debate.

“This is something we would like to provide for the people of Alabama— as well as offer to our candidates— to hold a fair and open debate with questions from Republican primary voters,” Alabama Republican Party Chairman John Wahl said Tuesday.

The party had attempted to coordinate a debate between the three leading candidates ahead of the May primary but could not get all the campaigns to agree to a date. He said the offer remains open to the two remaining candidates ahead of the runoff.

Britt and Brooks will face each other in the June 21 primary runoff for the GOP nomination for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Richard Shelby. The two were the top two finishers in last month’s primary, but a runoff is required because neither captured over 50% of the vote.

Both Britt and Brooks had harshly criticized Mike Durant, who had been one of the leading candidates in the race, for not debating them ahead of the May primary. Durant finished third and did not secure a place in the runoff.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.