While some of her conservative colleagues continue to gripe about Greene aligning with McCarthy and the GOP establishment, and have threatened repercussions as a result, it appears that squeeze has not affected her standing in northwest Georgia.
Activists in her 14th Congressional District such as Barnes said they are aware of her Washington-based controversies but are willing to give her space to occasionally take positions that are considered more establishment. They don’t believe Greene, a Rome Republican, has moved so far away from the far right that she is no longer one of them.
“I don’t really see her losing any actual support on the ground,” said Barnes, who is president and chairman of the Etowah Republican Assembly, representing the more conservative and working-class arm of the Republican Party in Floyd County where both he and Greene live. “At the end of the day, her and her district are really well matched. I mean, she is beloved up here.”
Greene has been a controversial figure from the time she entered national politics several years ago, drawing sharp rebukes from Democrats and even some Republicans who felt her fiery and problematic rhetoric made her the wrong person to represent the 14th District. But since being elected in 2020, she has not only increased her national profile but her local reputation as well.
In celebration of the Fourth of July on Tuesday, she plans to make stops at parades and community festivals in the district. If the past is any indication, she will spend the day posing for selfies and greeting well-wishers who usually line up for a glimpse of the GOP star.
John Bailey, managing editor of The Rome News-Tribune, said Greene has built a reputation for being visible, accessible and responsive to the needs of her constituents.
“She’s been very present in this district shaking hands, saying hi, talking to people,” he said.
Most recently, Greene’s issues have come from conservative colleagues in Washington who are unhappy with some of her decision-making there.
It started in January, when she was among the vast majority of House Republicans who supported McCarthy’s rise to speaker. About a dozen far-right lawmakers opposed him, blocking his ascent to the post through more than a dozen rounds of voting over four days.
When it came to the debt limit, the House Freedom Caucus was more galvanized against McCarthy’s compromise with Biden. Greene was one of just eight members of the caucus who supported that deal despite concerns from colleagues that it didn’t require enough cuts in federal spending.
In both instances, Greene took the position backing McCarthy. At times she was also critical of those who did not, accusing colleagues of taking an impractical approach to governing.
“I’m also not going to allow the United States of America to default, that’s just the wrong thing to do,” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in April during debt-ceiling deliberations. “So I think that we do have to have a negotiation, and I think there needs to be a level of maturity from everyone on this issue.”
Though she rarely takes on far-right lawmakers directly, she did so last month on the House floor when she cursed at Colorado U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert during a spat over the best approach to impeaching Biden.
Politico reported that shortly before members returned to their districts for the July Fourth recess the Freedom Caucus took a vote that reflected its displeasure with Greene. Her office did not respond to questions about her status with the caucus or whether she remains a member.
Back in Georgia, these developments have been met more with curiosity than disdain, said Debbie Dooley, one of the founders of the Georgia Tea Party who has become a voice for conservatives in the state GOP. People are willing to see whether Greene’s embrace of the establishment will remain a rare occurrence.
“She’s still pushing for indictments and stuff like that, and I just don’t think overall her stance is going to hurt her,” Dooley said. “Now, if she just keeps on taking those little baby steps, that’s a different matter. But it doesn’t look like she’s going to.”
Overall, it appears that Greene remains true to her deeply conservative roots, Dooley said. She continues to support red-meat policies such as ending abortion, halting aid to Ukraine and making guns more accessible.
She has also introduced a slate of impeachment resolutions targeting Biden, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and others. More recently, she backed a proposal attempting to wipe former President Donald Trump’s two impeachments off the record as if they never happened.
Bailey, the newspaper editor, said there are Republicans in northwest Georgia who have turned away from the party establishment and aligned with more conservative entities such as the Georgia Republican Assembly. But so far, those voters have not publicly turned on Greene, he said.
“I don’t think that’s trickled down very much to this district,” he said.
Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC
Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC