Cowan gains steam in 14th District as Greene’s remarks draw scrutiny

Businesswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and Dr. John Cowan, a neurosurgeon, are in the August runoff for the Republican nomination in Georgia's 14th Congressional District.

Businesswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and Dr. John Cowan, a neurosurgeon, are in the August runoff for the Republican nomination in Georgia's 14th Congressional District.

Establishment Republicans are lining up to support Marjorie Taylor Greene’s rival after a news report detailed racist and xenophobic remarks she has said over the years.

The Politico article included quotes from Greene, a candidate in Georgia's 14th Congressional District, gathered from videos posted on social media between 2016 and 2019.

Several elected officials told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution they were already planning to support Greene’s GOP rival, neurosurgeon John Cowan, in the August runoff. But the article, they say, convinces them that Greene is unfit to serve.

“There is absolutely no place in America for those comments; they are terrible, and they are frequent,” said U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-West Point. “And that is a real shame. I don’t think that she can be very effective as a legislator in Washington, and I just don’t think that there is a place in Congress for her.”

A spokesman for Cowan said Wednesday, “The endorsements are coming in like a tsunami.” Among them was U.S. House Republican Whip Steve Scalise.

Politico said it reviewed videos where Greene made anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic remarks. In another video, Greene reportedly said racial disparities don’t exist in America. “Guess what? Slavery is over,” she is quoted as saying. “Black people have equal rights.”

A businesswoman who is largely self-funding her campaign, Greene did not dispute the report or apologize for her comments. Instead, she accused the media of targeting her because she is a threat to the status quo. She said Republicans who back her opponent had succumbed to fear and political correctness.

“Every Republican, every Christian Conservative is going to be called a racist and a bigot by the Fake News Media, as have Steve Scalise and Liz Cheney,” Greene posted on Twitter. “I’m sorry my future colleagues are unable to stand up to the pressure and fight back.

“I’m sick-and-tired of watching establishment Republicans play defense while the  Fake News Media cheers on Antifa terrorists, BLM rioters, and the woke cancel  culture, as they burn our cities, loot our businesses, vandalize our memorials, and divide our nation.”

Greene is no stranger to controversy. The AJC previously reported about her ties to QAnon conspiracy theorists, how she spread unfounded rumors about the mass shooting in Las Vegas and when she posed for a picture with a  longtime white supremacist.

Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa recently lost the primary for his seat after making a stream of racist comments and falling out of favor with his GOP colleagues. Now, party leaders are facing the reality of Greene joining their ranks.

Initially, she signed up to run against former U.S. Rep. Karen Handel in the 6th Congressional District’s GOP primary. She switched to the 14th District and relocated to Rome after U.S. Rep. Tom Graves announced in December that he had decided to retire from public office.

Greene was the top vote-getter out of nine candidates in the June 9 primary. She earned nearly double the votes of Cowan but fell short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff.

President Donald Trump later congratulated her in a tweet.

Last weekend, Cowan rolled out a list of endorsements that includes three of his former opponents. The pace and profile of his backers increased on Wednesday after Politico published its report.

Georgia U.S. Reps. Rick Allen, Buddy Carter, Doug Collins and Austin Scott were among the incumbents who criticized Greene’s racially charged remarks. Handel, who is hoping to reclaim her seat in Congress, also weighed in.

“As a physician, small businessman, and lifelong resident of Northwest Georgia, John will be the advocate Northwest Georgians need to stand with President Trump and work to strengthen our economy, promote pro-life legislation, support our military, and use his expertise as a physician to improve healthcare and lower the cost of care for all,” Handel said in a statement supporting Cowan. “As for his opponent Marjorie Greene, her views and comments are abhorrent, and there is no place for this kind of inflammatory racist rhetoric in Congress OR in our country.”

U.S. Rep. Jody Hice and other members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus endorsed Greene before her most controversial remarks were widely known. Hice, a Republican from Monroe, did not rescind his support for Greene but said he was disappointed in what he learned.

“I was unaware of these comments,” he said, “and I obviously disagree with her views.”

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