Apr 26, 2022 - Politics

Greene is unimpressed by her GOP primary challengers

Marjorie Taylor Greene views evidence

Greene in the courtroom Friday. Photo: John Bazemore-Pool/Getty Images

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has several GOP contenders gunning for her seat in the May 24 primary, but with a national platform and millions in the bank, she isn’t worried.

  • In an interview with Axios, Greene said the wave of opponents in Georgia's 14th District “excites the mainstream media and the Washington, D.C., bubble, because they're like: ‘Oh, people are running against Marjorie Taylor Greene; maybe we can get rid of her.’ But honestly, it's really nothing at all.”

Why it matters: After moving to the 14th District to run in 2020, Greene has become a right-wing, pro-Trump fixture and powerhouse fundraiser.

  • She's also a magnet for controversy who last week was in a courtroom answering questions about whether she should be disqualified from holding office over her role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attacks.

Driving the news: Greene’s Republican opponents challenge that her statements and combative approach do not represent or serve the north Georgia district.

  • “There are too many serious issues at stake to not have a serious representative who's here to serve, not just be a social media celebrity,” her most prominent opponent, healthcare executive Jennifer Strahan, tells Axios.
  • Another challenger, retired emergency physician Charles Lutin, called her “an unacceptable person serving in public office in any capacity.”

Yes, but: Greene has $3 million in her campaign account, versus Strahan’s $158,000. The only public independent poll of the race shows Greene with nearly 60% of the primary vote. Greene’s March internal poll has her with over 70%.

  • Greene tells Axios her constituents support her because, “I say the things that people care about and say at home.”
  • “I criticize Democrats a lot, but I also criticize my own party because I blame Republicans and Democrats both for where we are, and so do most people,” she said.

What they're saying: Michael Bailey, a political scientist at Berry College in the 14th District, sees no evidence Greene’s popularity has waned, nor that her opponents have built enough name recognition to threaten her.

  • “She’s actually a really good politician for the era in which we live,” Bailey tells Axios. “She’s underestimated by people who look at her grammatical mistakes, her tactical blunders, and they don’t really see that she’s reading the room and the culture post-Trump.”

Plus, criticism of Greene only deepens support among her base, Bailey said: “She’s getting criticized left and right, but from her perspective that’s fantastic.”

The other side: Strahan, who has received support from current and former members of Congress, tells Axios the perception of Greene’s strength is “the number one fallacy that we’ve had to overcome…The loudest are not always the majority.”

  • Fellow challenger and railroad employee James Haygood, who voted for Greene in 2020, agreed she’s lost support, telling Axios, “The people I’ve spoken with have repeatedly told me they voted for her last time, they liked everything she stood for, but this time around she just went over the edge.”

The big picture: Greene has established herself as an outspoken defender of former President Trump, who has endorsed her, and a thorn for Democrats and some Republicans.

  • She lost her committee assignments within weeks of taking office for past controversial statements and social media activity.
  • Greene touts her commitment to forcing manual roll call votes on bills that would have otherwise passed by voice, frustrating some of her colleagues.

Context: The Georgia GOP resistance to Greene pales when compared to what's happening to fellow outspoken, pro-Trump, first-term Rep. Madison Cawthorn in North Carolina.

  • There, Cawthorn faces an all-out blitz from established Republicans, including U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, whose super PAC is spending six figures on an anti-Cawthorn ad.

Meanwhile, even though FiveThirtyEight classifies the 14th as +45 Republican, Greene has also attracted Democratic opponents, one of whom, Marcus Flowers, has raised more than $7 million.


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