By MADDISON BOOTH and MOLLEE BRELAND, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – A packed reception hall in downtown Montgomery roared Tuesday night with chants of “Katie! Katie!” as Republican Katie Britt thanked the crowd through tears after winning her party’s nomination in her journey to the U.S. Senate.
Britt won Tuesday’s runoff battle against long-time Congressman Mo Brooks with 63% of the vote, according to unofficial results from the Secretary of State’s office Tuesday night. The former CEO of the Business Council of Alabama now faces Democrat Will Boyd in the November election to replace Sen. Richard Shelby, for whom Britt was once chief of staff.
Britt’s watch party was filled with friends, family, staff and supporters, all raising their glasses in celebration of her achievement.
Meredith Brown Wills met Britt when the two women were 18 years old and joined the same sorority at the University of Alabama. They later worked together in Shelby’s office, and Wills was thrilled to watch her friend run to fill their former boss’ seat.
“She’s just destined for this,” Wills said.
Lillian Brand met Britt through the Alabama Girls State program and was also in Montgomery on Tuesday to share in the excitement.
“I’ve looked up to Katie for years,” Brand said. “She’s always been a role model to me, and so when she decided to run for Senate it was such an obvious choice to support her.”
From the stage Tuesday night, state Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, said “the future of Alabama looks bright after tonight,” and the song Sweet Home Alabama ushered her onto the stage to claim her victory.
Britt pledged to defend Alabama’s values, expand opportunities for all its citizens and tell its story on the national stage.
“This campaign has never been about me,” Britt said to her audience. “It has always been about you.”
Her husband, Wesley Britt, took to the stage earlier in the night to thank all those throughout the state who have worked alongside them to push Britt closer to office. He gave a special shoutout to their campaign team, which spokesman Sean Ross said had more than doubled from the May primary.
“It’s just amazing to see women in power and in positions that make a difference,” Madison Waldrop, an intern with the Britt campaign, said.
College students had a large presence at Britt’s celebration.
“I think it’s great that we are finally investing in leaders of our next generation here in Alabama,” Tylan Rudolph, college student and Britt supporter said. “Katie Britt is a proven warrior for the people…I can’t wait to see what she does in Washington D.C.”
Jake Yohn, an incoming freshman at Auburn University, started a coalition called Students for Katie Britt, to help spread her message across the state. They have garnered a following of over 600 on Instagram, and Yohn was excited to be there when she announced her victory..
“I think she said it best,” Yohn said. “She loves this state. She loves this country.”