This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump congratulated the new GOP nominee for Representative of Florida’s 21st District, 27-year-old Laura Loomer. Loomer, an infamous fringe conspiracy theorist, is running on platforms supporting Trump as a “law and order” president. And while this position alarms Democrats to no end, it’s the beliefs she espouses off-platform that should really be concerning all parties.
Loomer won a six-way primary for the Republican candidacy, earning her a GOP nomination. In her bid for Congress, she raised more than $1 million — an amount far higher than the other five candidates bidding to represent the district (which happens to include Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort). “Great going Laura,” Trump tweeted. “You have a great chance against a Pelosi puppet!” In November, Loomer will challenge Democratic Rep. Lois Frankel for her congressional seat.
And while she certainly has Trump’s endorsement, the news of Loomer’s nomination comes at a tumultuous time for the Republican party, who just last week endorsed a public QAnon supporter, Marjorie Taylor Greene, in Georgia’s 14th district. But if you thought the pang of stress that was incited from Greene’s election wasn’t enough, Loomer — whose allies include pardoned Trump supporter Roger Stone and right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones — may be even more worrisome.
A self-proclaimed “proud Islamophobe,” Loomer has been banned from all manner of social media and rideshare apps including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Uber, and Lyft for her history of making controversial racist statements. She was banned from Twitter in 2018 over posts about Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s Muslim beliefs. Both rideshare services refuse to count her as a customer after she tweeted that “someone needs to create a non Islamic form of Uber or Lyft because I never want to support another Islamic immigrant driver.”
Though she denies any association with QAnon, she reportedly contributed to the conspiracy theory website Infowars to spread false claims that the 20 children and six staff members murdered at Sandy Hook in 2012 were all part of a hoax. Loomer expressed similar claims about the Parkland mass shooting in 2018. Her connection to Infowars drew swift backlash from critics, but it doesn’t appear to have hindered her chances at a Republican nomination.
So far, Loomer has only won the nomination, not the election. Florida’s 21st district historically heavily favors Democratic candidates, and her opponent, Frankel, has been in the position for four terms already.
But this win speaks more to what the GOP is willing to stand behind than anything else. Loomer isn’t the only far-right candidate to win a nomination in the party. Her ideas may seem far out, but her win is far from an anomaly. After Greene snagged the nomination in Georgia earlier this month, far-right candidates have sprung up in Oregon and Colorado as well. Republican party leaders – at least publicly – distance themselves, but do not outright discourage its voter base from supporting controversial candidates.
Now, the GOP is struggling to negotiate Trump’s wholehearted embrace of fringe candidates. So long as they support his message, he seems to be able to overlook denigrating statements aimed at religions, ethnicities, tragic instances of gun violence, and harmful conspiracy theories. As recently as last week, Trump refused to confirm or deny whether he believes the QAnon theory which only clears the way to further transform the Republican Party and push it further into the fringes. Loomer has become one of the growing many.
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