House Freedom Caucus member U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., is the latest high-profile backer of Marjorie Taylor Greene to pull his endorsement in the 14th Congressional District race.
Voters in 12 Northwest Georgia counties — including Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Haralson, Murray, Paulding, Polk, Walker, Whitfield, and a portion of Pickens counties — are headed back to the polls Aug. 11 to decide a runoff in the Republican primary between frontrunner Greene and Dr. John Cowan, who finished second.
Since the June 9 primary, however, Politico uncovered videos where Greene makes numerous overtly racist statements and espouses conspiracy theories promoted by controversial far-right online organizations.
Hice, a strong and early Greene supporter, rescinded his endorsement this past week. The former pastor and conservative talk radio host from Greensboro said that — especially now — it’s important to have leaders in Washington who can heal the nation instead of dividing it further.
“I find Marjorie Taylor Greene’s statements appalling and deeply troubling, and I can no longer support her candidacy in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District,” Hice posted on his social media account.
House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and House Republican Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., are among the members of Congress who issued statements denouncing Greene, according to The New York Times and Washington Post.
Greene, who owns a construction company in Alpharetta and moved to Rome, Ga., after qualifying for the race this spring, won just over 40% of the vote in the nine-person primary. Cowan, a Rome neurosurgeon, was the runner-up with 21%.
The winner of the runoff will face Democrat Kevin Van Ausdal in November — in one of the most heavily Republican districts in the nation.
The seat is currently held by U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, who is not running for reelection. A spokesperson for Graves said he declined to comment, noting that his plan since announcing his retirement in December was to not get involved in the race.
As the condemnations started hitting the national stage, Greene fired back.
“The Fake News Media, the DC Swamp, and their radical leftist allies see me as a very serious threat. I will not let them whip me into submission,” she said in a statement. “And the voters of Northwest Georgia will not let the DC Swamp and the Fake News Media tell them who to vote for.”
Locally, Cowan has accumulated over 100 endorsements from elected officials within the district. Three of his opponents in the Republican primary — John Barge, Ben Bullock and Andy Gunther — also are lending him support.
Among the Georgia lawmakers on Cowan’s list are Republican state senators Chuck Hufstetler of Rome, Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga, Chuck Payne of Dalton and Mike Dugan of Carrollton.
“I’m strongly supporting John Cowan,” Hufstetler said Friday. “He’s in the district and I’m very concerned about Marjorie Greene and her interest in QAnon, a group the FBI has said is a potential source of domestic terrorism. The racist remarks she’s made have no place in the Republican Party.”
Greene did not address a question about her support of QAnon Friday. She also did not comment on the accusations of racism, but underscored her anti-Muslim stance.
“Radical Islam and Shariah Law have no place in American government,” she said via a short text provided by her spokesman Isaiah Wartman.
She then took aim at Cowan, lumping him in with “the New York Times, MSNBC and the Council on American-Islamic Relations,” a civil rights advocacy group that has been criticized in some quarters for alleged ties to Hamas.
“John Cowan is too weak, too timid and too afraid to fight for us,” the text continued. “I beat John Cowan 2-1 on June 9th and will beat him again on August 11th.”
Cowan — who is also running on a “pro-Trump, pro-life, pro-gun” platform — said Greene goes too far.
“Marjorie Greene would embarrass the state, she would cause problems for Republicans running in other districts and she’s incapable of effectively representing the interests of Northwest Georgia in Congress,” he said in an emailed statement.
He noted that she is new to the 14th District, having originally set her sights on the suburban Atlanta 6th District seat, and the bulk of her funding is from outside the region.
“We need to send her back home,” he said.
Voters who cast ballots in the June 9 Democratic primary are ineligible to vote in the Republican runoff. However, the election follows federal rules, which means new voters may register through July 13.
Absentee ballots may be requested now and in-person early voting starts July 20.