Greene’s divisive politics face test in Republican primary

Greene’s divisive politics face test in Republican primary

With millions raised to defend her seat in Congress and five fellow Republicans running to take it, GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene faced her first reelection vote Tuesday in a GOP primary race that tests how her conservative Georgia constituents judge her turbulent freshman term.

Greene, 47, became a celebrity of the Republican Party’s far-right fringe with her election two years ago as she embraced former President Donald Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election was stolen, engaged in conspiracy theories about the coronavirus and launched partisan attacks that critics said promoted racism and violence.

Greene remained on the primary ballot Tuesday in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District after a failed effort to disqualify her by opposing voters. They argued Greene engaged in insurrection by encouraging the Jan. 6, 2021, riot that disrupted Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory. Georgia’s secretary of state and an administrative law judge dismissed the claims.

Still, fellow Republicans refused to give Greene a free ride to reelection. Though her first term won loyal followers, it left others in the GOP embarrassed.

Leading the slate of Republicans running to oust Greene in the primary was Jennifer Strahan, founder of a suburban Atlanta health care advisory firm who pitched herself to voters as a “no-nonsense conservative.”

“This is not the time for unserious politicians who just want to hear themselves talk,” Strahan said in one campaign ad, without mentioning Greene by name. In another she stated bluntly: “Our current U.S. representative isn’t doing her job.”

Greene was stripped of her committee assignments last year by House Democrats who accused her of spreading violent and hateful conspiracies. In recent months, Greene got banned from Twitter for spreading coronavirus misinformation and spoke at an event organized by a white nationalist where the crowd chanted “Putin!” after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Green has been largely unrepentant. In a campaign ad posted recently to her Facebook page, she calls Biden and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “communist Democrats” who “hate America, hate God and hate our way of life.”

Greene proved popular enough that she raised more than $9 million for her reelection bid, placing her among the year’s top fundraisers in Congress, according to the Federal Election Commission. Greene spent more than $6.6 million before the primary.

Strahan’s $391,000 in fundraising trailed far behind Greene but dwarfed that of other Republican contenders — retired physician Charles Lutin, engineer James Haygood, Marine Corps veteran Seth Synstelien and logistics executive Eric Cunningham.

Spanning a stretch of northwest Georgia from metro Atlanta to the state line at Chattanooga, Tennessee, Greene’s district was drawn to favor Republicans even after state lawmakers slightly shifted its boundaries during redistricting last year.

Even with the odds against them, three Democrats competed for a shot at challenging Greene in November. Army veteran Marcus Flowers led the Democratic field with more than $8.1 million raised. He faced small business owner Hollie McCormack and Wendy Davis, a former Rome city commissioner, in the district’s Democratic primary.

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