Here's why the GOP is panicking over one of its own in a Georgia House race
Many Republican strategists breathed a sigh of relief recently when Rep. Steve King of Iowa lost a primary battle to Iowa State Sen. Randy Feenstra, who will be running against a Democrat in the general election. But in Georgia, House Republicans have a major worry: a fear that extremist Marjorie Taylor Greene will defeat neurosurgeon John Cowan in a primary and end up running against Democrat Kevin Van Ausdal in her district.
Greene, according to Politico reporters Ally Mutnick and Melanie Zanona, has a long history of making racist, anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic remarks. Moreover, the journalists note, Greene has expressed her “belief in a trove of QAnon conspiracy theories.”
“Greene finished first in a primary for a deep red Northwest Georgia seat last week by a nearly two-to-one margin over the second-place candidate,” Mutnick and Zanona explain. “She is entering an August runoff as the heavy favorite to secure the Republican nomination for a district where that is tantamount to winning the general election in November. Her initial victory — which has sparked panic in GOP circles — comes as Republicans are grappling with a national reckoning over racial inequality and police brutality after George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed by a Minneapolis police officer last month.”
If Greene won the nomination, Van Ausdal would have a lot to use against her in the general election. For example, Greene has promoted the conspiracy theory that billionaire George Soros collaborated with Nazis.
In a video, Mutnick and Zanona note, Greene asserted, “George Soros says dark forces have been awakened by Trump’s win. I don’t think so. George Soros is the piece of crap that turned in — he’s a Jew — he turned in his own people over to the Nazis.”
Greene has defended the display of Confederate monuments in southern states. And she has described the victories of Muslim members of Congress in 2018, including Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, as part of a conspiracy to establish “Shariah law” in the United States.
“There is an Islamic invasion into our government offices right now,” Greene said of the 2018 election results. “You saw….. so many Muslims elected. I don’t know the exact number, but there were quite a few.”
In another rant, Greene said, “If you want Islam and Sharia law, you stay over there in the Middle East. You stay there, and you go to Mecca and do all your thing. And, you know what, you can have a whole bunch of wives or goats or sheep or whatever you want. You stay over there. But in America, see, we’ve made it this great, great country. We don’t want it messed up.”
Although Cowan is hard-right politically, he has been critical of Greene’s bigoted statements — saying, “These comments do not reflect the views of the people of [Georgia’s] 14th District. I think she would embarrass our state, and I’m going to do everything I can to keep her from representing northwest Georgia in Congress.”
Another hard-right Republican, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, has endorsed Cowan, saying, “The comments made by Ms. Greene are disgusting and don’t reflect the values of equality and decency that make our country great. I will be supporting Dr. Cowan.”
But other well-known Republicans have endorsed Greene, including Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.