Georgia’s 14th Congressional District has a population of 728,551, of which 468,681 were registered to vote in the 2020 general election.
Just 108,816 voters participated in the Republican primary, and fewer than 77,000 during the runoff between John Cowan and Marjorie Taylor Greene, who moved on to the general election with the support of a whopping 43,813 people.
That’s all it took for Greene — a woman who believed a laser beam from outer space started a 2018 wildfire in California — to get into Congress. That and our habit of voting for the party instead of the person.
Now, maybe her controversial and sometimes flat-out racist views are an accurate reflection of the 728,551 people who call the 11-year-old district home. It’s more likely she is simply the beneficiary of a small group of QAnon supporters who bothered to show up when most others were either too busy or not interested.
All I know is that the best way to get her out of office is the same method used to get her in — the vote. It’s up to her district to decide whether she represents who they are and what they want.
Some opponents are hoping to keep her name off the ballot by using the Constitution’s “disqualification clause,” because of her support for the Jan. 6 insurrection. But there’s a part of me that believes that she doesn’t represent the district’s best, and that if given the chance, voters will show it.
It’s a shaky proposition, I know.
Right now the leading candidate in Georgia’s Republican primary for the Senate is Herschel Walker, a former Georgia Bulldog football star who lied about graduating from college, lied about being high school valedictorian, and earlier this year told college students in Texas that his upholstery company employs about 250 people when in fact there’s no evidence of him even owning an upholstery company. So, yes, only part of me believes Georgia voters will have the wisdom to kick Greene out of Congress.
I will admit, watching Greene testify last Friday was entertaining. It’s amazing how she’s able to do so much despite remembering so little. And comparing what she said under oath to what she reportedly said via text to President Donald Trump’s then-chief of staff, Mark Meadows, certainly reveals some inconsistencies. The word “perjury” immediately comes to mind.
But regardless of what, if anything, happens in court, getting more of the 728,551 people in her district to vote her out is the most effective method. Why? Because disqualification would be viewed as a political attack brought on by the left. It won’t give pause to future candidates like her; it would provide them with ammo. Losing in the Republican primary can’t be as easily dismissed — not by Greene or future candidates.
That only works if the district has grown disillusioned with her, which isn’t clear. She’s raised the most money, but it’s dominated by donors from outside the state. Greene has national name recognition, but locally, do they care if she’s rude? Misinformed? Has a flair for racist storytelling?
“Imagine being a woman and you’re just trying to get your groceries out of your car to carry them in the house and you are faced with men who don’t even belong in your carport and that’s where they are because they invaded our country,” Greene said during a news conference at the U.S.-Mexico border in which a delegation of Republican members of Congress pretended to care about the rule of law while ignoring the fact that the storyteller on the mic tried to overturn the presidential election.
Greene did take time to offer condolences to the family of Bishop Evans, the 22-year-old Texas National Guard member who drowned trying to save two migrants struggling in the Rio Grande. Of course, Greene also voted against awarding congressional medals to U.S. Capitol Police and other officers who protected the Capitol during an insurrection she apparently helped organize.
At least, that seems apparent in the texts she reportedly sent to Meadows.
On Jan. 7, 2021, she sent: “Yesterday was a terrible day. We tried everything we could in our objection to the 6 states. I’m sorry nothing worked.” On Jan. 17 she said: “In our private chat with only Members, several are saying the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall law” — misspelling “martial.”
There are signs that not every conservative in her district is happy to have Greene represent them. There are five challengers in the primary. In 2018, the incumbent, Tom Graves, did not face a challenger in the primary. He retired to run a lobbying firm in Washington.
Anyway, another positive sign is that these challengers are clearly running as anti-Greenes.
“Despite what our current representative may try to lead you to believe, kindness is not a weakness,” Seth Synstelien, one of the candidates looking to unseat Greene, says on his campaign page. But he also says: “Someone who wields true power does not throw temper tantrums. They speak softly while carrying enough firepower to blow a person to kingdom come.”
Not exactly the kind of words you want to hear from someone who listed “police officer” among his career experiences, but, hey, at least he’s not advocating Marshall law.
Or is it “martial”?
I can’t remember.