Struggling to coalesce GOP support in next month’s special election in Georgia, appointedSen. Kelly Loeffler celebrated an endorsement Thursday from Marjorie Taylor Greene, the controversial congressional candidatewho has embraced elements of the QAnon conspiracy theory and has a history of making racist and bigoted comments.
The endorsement comes amid Loeffler’s hard tack to the right in an effort to win over the GOP base voters in her race against GOP Rep. Doug Collins. The two are among the 20 candidates on the ballot in the special Senate election — and, according to the polls, they are fighting for one spot in a likely runoff next January against Democrat Raphael Warnock.
Republican leaders in the House denounced Greene over the summer after POLITICO reported on videos in which she made a series of racist and derogatory statements. But the national party made little effort to stop her before the August runoff, whichGreene won.
Greene’s Democratic opponent in the deep-red northwest Georgia district has dropped out, and Republican leaders in the House now say they intend to seat her on committees when she comes to Washington next year.
In an event Thursday morning in Dallas, Ga.,Greene praised Loeffler for her pro-gun stance and her opposition to China — and also touted Loeffler’s criticisms of the Black Lives Matter organization, which Loeffler and other Republicans have labeled a Marxist effort. Loeffler is a co-owner of the Atlanta Dream — which, like many other professional women’s basketball teams, saw its players and front office embrace the Black Lives Matter movement after the killing of George Floyd this spring.
“What impressed me with Kelly is I found out that she believes a lot of the same things that I believe,” Greene said during the event Tuesday, which Loeffler’s campaign live-streamed on its Facebook page. “And I found out that she’s actually the most conservative Republican in the race.”
Loeffler called Greene a “much needed voice” in Washington and compared the two of them with President Donald Trump, who is set to host a rally in the state Friday, for their business backgrounds. She also touted her voting record and said she was fighting for “conservative values” and against the “radical left.”
“I’ve gotten a lot of work done in Washington already in that regard — and I’m thrilled to know I’ve got a strong, conservative champion that’s going to be fighting right alongside with me,” Loeffler said.
She also brushed aside questions about QAnon at the event, according to reporting from the Associated Press. She said she doesn’t “know anything about QAnon, and I know how the media twists people’s words.”
“What we agree on is that we are fighting socialism,” Loeffler said. “We are promoting conservative values. And I’m not going to stand for attacks on her character because she has stood for American values.”
Greene, in her videos, suggested that Muslims do not belong in government and said African Americans “are held slaves to the Democratic Party,” among other remarks that House Minority Whip Steve Scalise called “disgusting,” and a spokesperson for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said were “appalling.”
The endorsement may help Loeffler in her effort to consolidate support among the Republican base, which would help her earn the runoff spot. Recent public polling has shown Loeffler and Collins in a dead heat and both receiving between one-fifth and one-quarter of the vote without a large gap between them. Loeffler, the wife of the chair of the New York Stock Exchange who became the wealthiest senator when she joined the chamber earlier this year, has vastly outspent Collins in the race, and has also had a boost from an outside group investing heavily on her behalf.
Warnock has recently surged in polling as he consolidated support among Democrats and began to spend his significant fundraising advantage on TV ads. His surge has mostly eliminated Democratic concerns that the crowded field could leave Loeffler and Collins as the top two candidates in the race, which would have left Democrats locked out of a runoff.