Another Handel GOP rival may drop out of 6th District race

Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene appears on the verge of dropping out of the race for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District - and competing instead for the soon-to-be-vacated seat two districts over.

The political newcomer told grassroots activists at a GOP breakfast over the weekend that her “phone started ringing off the hook” after U.S. Rep. Tom Graves abruptly announced last week that he wouldn’t stand for another term.

“Then I started getting phone calls from the most conservative members in the House Freedom Caucus. Debbie Meadows - Mark Meadows’ wife -- Jim Jordan, Andy Biggs,” she said, invoking members of that conservative group.

“They have asked me to heavily consider stepping out of the 6th District and coming in and running in the 14th.”

Greene declined to comment further when asked over the weekend, saying only that she has been “asked by conservatives all across the district to consider it.”

Greene, an executive with a construction company who lives in north Fulton, was a longshot contender to challenge Democrat Lucy McBath in the 6th District, which stretches from east Cobb to north DeKalb counties.

She mostly drew attention for a petition to impeach House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and provocative campaign stunts.

The potential switcheroo to the heavily conservative 14th District, which spans parts of northwest Georgia, drew criticism from other conservatives who mocked her for considering a race for a district where she doesn’t reside.

“The irony of all the Republican ads that ran against Ossoff about living outside the district now has someone shopping around for a seat,” said Brandon Phillips, a GOP operative, referring to the scorn heaped on Jon Ossoff during the 2017 special election for the 6th District.

Shelley Wynter, a conservative commentator, added that “moving there now would be an insult to those 14th District voters, of which I’m one.”

Greene’s withdrawal would eliminate another potential GOP rival of former U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, who is mounting a comeback attempt in the 6th District.

Handel nabbed endorsements from Gov. Brian Kemp and U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue ever since a better known contender, state Sen. Brandon Beach, dropped out of the race.

If Greene entered the 14th District race, she would likely face formidable competition. Among the potential contenders are state Sen. Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga, state Rep. Trey Kelley of Cedartown and Paulding County school board member Jason Anavitarte, a prominent Latino conservative.