Politics /

Laura Loomer Challenges Congressman Daniel Webster in Florida Primary

The activist and journalist has been titled the most banned woman in the world

Right-wing activist Laura Loomer is looking to unseat incumbent Congressman Daniel Webster in her second run for Congress.

Webster is one of the longest-serving members of the Florida Congressional Delegation. He has served in both the United States House and Senate for a combined total of over 40 years. 

The congressman currently serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure, Natural Resources Committees, and Science, Space and Technology Committee. His campaign says the electrical engineer “works every day to stop Washington mandates, empower families, and promote conservative principles.”

Although he has faced a number of substantial challengers in the past, none have resembled “the most banned woman in the world.”

Loomer has been described by some as an “internet provocateur” who previously worked as an undercover journalist for Project Veritas between 2015 and 2017. She was ultimately banned from a number of major platforms – including Twitter, Facebook, PayPal, GoFundMe, Venmo and Uber — for statements denouncing Islam. 

This includes calling Congresswoman Ilhan Omar “anti-Jewish” and accusing her of supporting female genital mutilation in 2018. She also described Islam as a “cancer” in a 2017 post.

In 2019, she was banned from both Facebook and the Conservative Political Action Conference, where she allegedly used her media credentials to harass other reporters.

Loomer protested her permanent ban from Twitter by handcuffing herself to the doors of Twitter’s New York headquarters. Loomer and political interest group Freedom Watch filed a lawsuit against Google in 2018 for violating the First Amendment as well as suppressing and censoring conservative content. The Supreme Court ultimately declined to review the case in 2021.

Loomer worked with Florida lawmakers in 2021 to pass SB 7072, which prohibits “a social media platform from willfully deplatforming a candidate” and permits the investigation of social media platforms believed to be using unfair or deceptive practices. The bill was signed in May by Governor Ron DeSantis, who Loomer said “truly understands that Big Tech tyranny is an existential threat to our Constitutional Republic, to free and fair elections, and to free speech – which is the bedrock of our Constitution.”

“Unfortunately, the bill does not provide protection for me as an already deplatformed Florida congressional candidate, and it will not protect President Trump if he decides to run for President again in 2024,” she wrote in a statement.

Her current campaign is her second congressional bid. In 2020, Loomer won the Republican primary in Florida’s 21st Congressional District 

Trump congratulated Loomer after she won her primary by writing “You have a great chance against  Pelosi puppet!” on Twitter.

Loomer was ultimately unable to unseat incumbent Democrat Lois Frankel. Trump has not publicly commented on her 2022 campaign.

This time, Loom has been endorsed by a number of well-known and, at times, controversial conservatives.

Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar said the 29-year-old “has proven herself to be an army of one and embodies fearlessness.”

“She has bigger balls than most of the men. You need her in Washington fighting for you,” said Roger Stone, a former advisor to Trump, in his endorsement. “We need her in Washington to join the band of rebels because she is courageous. She is knowledgeable. She is fearless.”

Retired Army General Michael Flynn, Trump’s initial National Security Advisor, shared similar sentiments. 

“Laura Loomer is exactly what we need in Congress and frankly is exactly the type of courageous, incredibly intellectual, tough, savvy woman, that we need in congress,” said Flynn. 

Redistricting resulted in the Webster-Loomer match-up, pitting an established, experienced Republican against the pugnacious, America First party outsider. 

Loomer has emphasized these differences while campaigning. She has publicly questioned Webster’s voting record, including his absence from a House vote that established the Jan. 6 Committee. 

In an opinion piece for the Central Florida Post, Loomer said she was “deeply troubled by these harrowing times” and the “inaction and cowardice” of Webster, who she called her “RINO, Do-Nothing opponent.”

“While there are many reasons why Daniel Webster is no longer fit to serve in Congress, his lack of leadership and disregard for the truth following the fraudulent 2020 elections and January 6th protests is perhaps one of the most concerning and powerful reasons of all,” Loomer stated. “By failing to show up to vote against Nancy Pelosi’s highly politicized January 6th commission, Daniel Webster committed dereliction of duty, he betrayed his fellow Americans, and he displayed an astonishing lack of conviction when he refused to take a stand on the events that took place on January 6th.”

“Daniel Webster is a failed, career politician who had loudly signaled that he is not up for the fight that is necessary and required from our representatives in these distressing times we are living through to take back our country from the tight, clenched fist of communism that is rapidly crushing our country,” she wrote.

As of June Webster has been endorsed by the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, the National Federation of Independent Business, and several local sheriffs. 

“In the years I’ve known and worked with Rep. Webster, I know him to be a commonsense conservative who understands our Constitution. He fights for it and upholds its principles even when it is not politically popular,” said Polk County Sherriff Grady Judd. “We need more leaders with the humility, servant leadership, and tenacity that Dan Webster exemplifies as he serves Florida and his constituents.”

Even with Webster’s strong community ties, Loomer’s popularity has evidently spread throughout the district even without the use of mainstream social media platforms.  At a rally this week at a popular retirement community called The Villages, supporters chanted “Boomers for Loomer” and “America First.”

Loomer has also dismissed critics who have denounced her as “far-right” saying the label means that she is not a RINO, meaning Republican in Name Only.

That’s good because it establishes that I am more right wing than Do nothing Dan, and it makes hardcore republicans here want to vote for me even more!” she wrote on Telegram. “On the ground, voters say ‘oh, they call you far right? You must be a fighter. You’ve got my vote!’”

Loomer said voters in Florida’s 11th district “don’t want anymore weak, spineless RINOS.”

They want RIGHT WING FIGHTERS!!” she wrote.

According to US News and World Report, “whoever wins the Republican primary would likely win in November as well” as the new lines of district indicate it would have supported Trump by 55% in the last election.

Florida’s primary is Aug. 23

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