Residents of Mountain Brook may be relatively few in number, but they sent a message about their views on the Republican Party in campaign finance reports filed last week by candidates running to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby.
Although Mountain Brook’s population is just more than 20,000, people who live in the affluent Birmingham suburb contributed far more than any other municipality in the state to Katie Boyd Britt.
Donations from residents of Mountain Brook signal support for Britt from the traditional, business-oriented wing of the Republican Party
Britt, who reported $2.3 million in contributions for the first half of 2021, got $299,339 from people listing a Mountain Brook address. That compares to $188,000 from Tuscaloosa; $165,950 from Birmingham; $160,500 from Mobile; $157,550 from Huntsville and $149,308 from Montgomery.
Britt raised all that money during the past three months and entered July with a cash balance of $2.20 million, compared to $1.7 million for Mo Brooks of Huntsville. The current U.S. representative, who delivered a fiery speech urging supporters of former President Donald Trump to “start taking down names and kicking ass” shortly before they attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, also is running to claim Shelby’s seat.
Financial reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission showed no contributions to Brooks from Mountain Brook addresses.
The swell of financial support from Mountain Brook for Britt, a former chief of staff to Shelby, came as no surprise to Larry Powell, professor of communication studies at UAB and a long-time political consultant and pollster.
“Senator Shelby is going to do everything he can out of the public eye to help her,” Powell said. “People with money do not want Mo Brooks in the Senate.”
Britt is widely seen as the choice of Shelby, who has worked quietly behind the scenes during more than three decades in the Senate to bring untold millions of dollars to Alabama. She resigned as president of the Business Council of Alabama earlier this year to run for the GOP nomination in the May 24, 2022, primary election.
There are two other candidates in the field: business executives Lynda Blanchard of Montgomery and Jessica Taylor of Birmingham.
FEC reports showed Brooks’ greatest support — $203,717 so far this year — came from Huntsville. He got $9,300 from Birmingham.
Blanchard’s biggest source was Montgomery, with $59,650 coming from people who listed addresses in the city, including $14,500 from people who share her last name. She received $16,400 from Birmingham and $1,250 from Mountain Brook.
Taylor, who declared her candidacy last week, had no report on file with the FEC by Thursday’s deadline.
Census Bureau statistics paint a picture of Mountain Brook that is vastly different from the rest of Alabama.
According to 2019 census figures:
- Mountain Brook’s median household income was $152,355, compared to Alabama’s $50,536.
- Just over 85% of the city’s residents age 25 and older held bachelor’s or higher degrees, compared to 25.5% statewide.
- The median value of owner-occupied housing units in the city was $628,800, compared to $142,000 in Alabama.
- The population of Mountain brook was 97% white, compared to 69% for the state.
Powell said that, while Britt has raised more money than any of her rivals, she will have a tough time against three candidates who seem to be in a contest to prove who is the most ardent supporter of Trump.
“I think she will have an impossible time with the Trump group,” Powell said. “It’s a matter of whether his influence is dropping here as much as in other states … . I think Alabama will be slow to follow that trend.
“The Republicans in Alabama tend to fall into three groups,” Powell said. “One is the business community, one is the Bible community and one is the ‘bubbas.’ Trump does well with the latter two.”