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Shelby backs ex-aide over Trump-favored candidate in Alabama Senate race

Shelby backs ex-aide over Trump-favored candidate in Alabama Senate race
© Greg Nash

Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyOn The Money: Sanders: Democrats considering trillion spending package | Weekly jobless claims rise for first time since April Shelby signals GOP can accept Biden's .5T with more for defense Senate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior MORE (R-Ala.) says he will support his former chief of staff Katie Boyd Britt in the race to succeed him in the Senate, opting to not back former President TrumpDonald TrumpIran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' Ivanka Trump, Kushner distance themselves from Trump claims on election: CNN Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum MORE’s endorsed candidate, Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson Brooks14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday Mo Brooks accuses Swalwell attorney who served papers on his wife of trespassing Shelby backs ex-aide over Trump-favored candidate in Alabama Senate race MORE (R-Ala.).

Shelby’s office confirmed to The Hill that the senator said he will throw his support behind Britt, who officially announced her candidacy on Tuesday, following an interview he gave to Politico.

“She's like family. She'd make a good candidate. She's probably the best-qualified candidate to come along in a long time,” Shelby told the news outlet.

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“I'd support her, I'd vote for her,” he added.

The 87-year-old senator announced in February that he would not run for reelection in 2022, signaling the end of his tenure in Congress, which has spanned six terms.

In March, Brooks, the six-term congressman from Alabama, announced that he would run for Shelby’s seat at an event alongside Stephen MillerStephen MillerShelby backs ex-aide over Trump-favored candidate in Alabama Senate race Pro-Trump group presses Biden officials for records on critical race theory The Memo: Biden feels the heat from all sides on immigration MORE, a longtime adviser to Trump.

Less than a month later, Trump endorsed Brooks.

Shelby was a reliable Trump vote in the Senate, voting in line with the former president’s positions 90.7 percent of the time.

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He did, however, break ranks last year when he supported former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? Border state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos Garland strikes down Trump-era asylum decisions MORE’ unsuccessful comeback bid, and in 2017 when he refused to back Republican Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreShelby backs ex-aide over Trump-favored candidate in Alabama Senate race Of inmates and asylums: Today's House Republicans make the John Birchers look quaint The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings MORE in Alabama’s special election, who ultimately went on to lose the race.

Shelby would not take aim at Brooks during his interview with Politico, but did make it clear that he would not try to tip the scale throughout the campaign in favor of his former aide.

“Could be an interesting race. We'll have to see how it develops,” Shelby said.

“She's got to run her own campaign, I'm not running her campaign. She's got her own people,” he added.

Britt served as Shelby’s chief of staff from 2016 and 2018, and was also a press aide for him earlier in her career, according to Politico. Most recently, she was the president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama.

Lynda Blanchard, a businesswoman and former President Trump's ambassador to Slovenia, is also vying for the Republican nomination.