Trump-Favorite Laura Loomer Seeks a Win in Primary For President’s Florida District

 
Laura Loomer

Laura Loomer

PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump and his Republican neighbors in Florida are set to vote Tuesday on who they would like to see as their next representative in the United States House. The president’s apparent favorite in the race, Laura Loomer, is ready to double down on Trump’s war with Washington.

“We need to restore law and order in this country,” the 27-year-old candidate said in an interview with Mediaite. “We’re seeing absolute lawlessness and a total disregard for civility and people’s discourse. That’s because the Democrats, through their dangerous rhetoric, have been inciting political violence in their attempts to orchestrate a Marxist coup against the president of the United States.”

Loomer is battling five other Republicans in Florida’s 21st House district for the right to face off against 72-year-old Rep. Lois Frankel. The winner faces an uphill battle: Frankel has nearly four decades of experience in Democratic politics, serving for 14 years as a state representative and another eight as mayor of West Palm Beach. She first joined Congress in 2013, and was uncontested during her 2018 reelection campaign; she won her last contested campaign in 2016 with 63 percent of the vote, 28 percent more than her Republican challenger.

Polling in the district by third-party groups has been limited. Frankel aside, the district leans against Republicans nationally. Hillary Clinton beat Trump by 20 points in the area — 59 percent to 39 percent — in 2016. The Cook Political Report characterizes the district as D+9.

Nonetheless, Loomer — whose political experience began as a volunteer for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, during her time as a student at Miami’s Barry University — has surpassed Frankel by at least two metrics: Campaign contributions and online followers. Campaign filings show Loomer raised more than $1.1 million through July 29 compared to $870,000 for Frankel.

The figure puts the five Republicans in the race to shame. That group has raised around $300,000 combined, notwithstanding one candidate who loaned $350,000 to her own campaign.

Loomer’s cash has flowed, in part, from a national fan base Loomer developed over years as an activist — albeit a highly controversial one.

“When I was a junior … at Barry University, what happened was there was this event on 9/11, and it was a memorial service,” Loomer said. “And they opened up this memorial service by allowing imams to shout ‘allahu akbar,’ and I found it to be truly inappropriate. And I ended up posting about it on my Facebook page.”

A story about Loomer’s post went viral after it was picked up by a local Florida news outlet and Breitbart. “The school was contacted over it, and they threatened to kick me out of college,” Loomer said. The ensuing controversy led to an invitation for Loomer to speak at a conference in Palm Beach, where she met Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe. She said her first project with his group was so successful — it landed on the front page of The New York Post — that she quit her job at Miami’s WSVN television station to work full-time for his group.

After leaving Project Veritas in 2017, Loomer engaged in commentary that led to her getting banned from a variety of tech platforms. Among them were Uber and Lyft, which gave her the boot in 2017 after she complained about not being able to find a “non Muslim” driver on either platform. Twitter banned her in 2018 after Loomer — who is Jewish — accused Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) of being “anti-Jewish” and said she was part of a religion in which “homosexuals are oppressed” and “women are abused.”

Despite those controversies, Loomer has become even more popular in subsequent years. Today, she has more than 620,000 followers on Twitter-alternative Parler — more than 20 times the following Frankel enjoys on Twitter.

That following includes an eclectic array of supporters, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), InfoWars founder Alex Jones, and long-time Trump adviser Roger Stone.

In an interview, Stone said Loomer is just the beginning of a generation of political players who are going to look different than their predecessors. “People of Laura Loomer’s age are more politically aggressive,” Stone said, “because they have to be. There has been a systematic effort to silence them, censor them, and close them out of the political debate entirely.”

That dynamic is one with which Trump appears to be sympathetic.

While the president hasn’t issued an endorsement in the race, he has shared several of Loomer’s posts on social media. And Karen Giorno, who served as a senior adviser to Trump’s campaign in 2016, is leading Loomer’s effort as her campaign manager. “I have a very cordial and very active relationship with the Trump campaign for reelection,” Giorno said in an interview with The Washington Post.

“It was a directive not from the president, but on behalf of the president, he wanted this district flipped,” she added. “That’s his home district. He deserves to have someone represent him, not impeach him.”

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