And as he prepares to step down after six terms, Shelby is keeping some distance from Trump. Trump endorsed Brooks in April. The National Republican Senatorial Committee is expected to remain neutral in open-seat primaries, and the winner of the GOP primary will be heavily favored in the conservative state.

Shelby declined to take a shot at Brooks, only observing: “Could be an interesting race. We’ll have to see how it develops.” In addition, he made clear he wouldn’t take an active role in his former top aide’s bid: “She’s got to run her own campaign, I’m not running her campaign. She’s got her own people.”

Britt, who was Shelby’s chief of staff from 2016 until 2018, entered the Senate race this week. She also served as a press aide for him earlier in her career. Most recently she’s led the Business Council of Alabama. She told The Associated Press that Shelby’s six-term legacy is one that will be remembered for being “effective for the state of Alabama.”

“I have to stand on my own two feet,” she said. “When we get to know the people of Alabama, they’ll know that I am the best person to fight for them.”

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