By Joseph Ax
(Reuters) -Former President Donald Trump's pick for U.S. Senate in Alabama, Katie Britt, won the Republican nomination on Tuesday, defeating Mo Brooks, the firebrand congressman whom Trump had originally backed before changing his mind, Edison Research projected.
Britt, a former chief of staff for the man she is running to succeed, retiring Republican Senator Richard Shelby, earned Trump's endorsement this month.
In Virginia, Republican state Senator Jen Kiggans, a Navy veteran, won the primary election and will face Democratic U.S. Representative Elaine Luria, Edison projected. Yesli Vega, a county official endorsed by U.S Senator Ted Cruz, beat a crowded field of Republicans for the right to challenge Abigail Spanberger.
Both incumbents are seen as two of the most vulnerable Democratic House members in November's midterm elections.
With Democratic President Joe Biden's approval ratings underwater, Republicans are favored to win control of the House of Representatives, where they need to flip only five Democratic seats for a majority, and could also take over the Senate.
A Republican-controlled House could stymie much of Biden's legislative agenda while launching politically damaging investigations into his administration.
In Alabama, Trump initially backed Brooks, a staunch ally who has echoed his false claims that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent. Brooks delivered a fiery speech to Trump supporters in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, before some of them stormed the U.S. Capitol seeking to prevent the certification of Biden's victory.
But Trump pulled his endorsement after Brooks at a rally with the former president urged Republicans to put 2020 behind them.
Britt will be heavily favored in November against the Democratic nominee, minister Will Boyd.
Trump, who is weighing another White House run in 2024, has endorsed some 200 candidates in 2022, with mixed results in states including Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
In Georgia on Tuesday, two Trump-backed House candidates lost primary contests to rival Republicans, a month after Trump's picks for governor and secretary of state were decisively defeated.
(Reporting by Joseph AxEditing by Ross Colvin, Nick Zieminski and Leslie Adler)