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2020

Controversial activist Laura Loomer now GOP standard-bearer in CD 21

Loomer was the best fundraiser in the contest and boasted of a significant right-wing fan base.

Republican candidate Laura Loomer is going from right-wing social media star to congressional candidate after securing a win Tuesday night in Florida’s 21st Congressional District.

Loomer will now face incumbent Democratic Rep. Lois Frankel in the General Election after Frankel easily dispatched Guido Weiss in the Democratic primary.

And now she has the support of the district’s most famous constituent, President Donald Trump.

“Great going Laura,” Trump tweeted upon news of her victory. “You have a great chance against a Pelosi puppet!”

She spoke at a victory party standing alongside controversial Trump confidante Roger Stone.

Roger Stone with Laura Loomer at her victory night party. after winning the GOP nomination. Image via Palm Beach Post.

Loomer was part of a six-person contest for the GOP nod. Also running were Palm Beach State College professor Christian Acosta, exotic animal advocate Elizabeth Felton, Air Force veteran Aaron Scanlan, the QAnon supporting Reba Sherrill and former IRS criminal investigator Michael Vilardi.

According to Tuesday’s unofficial results, Loomer was well ahead with nearly 43% of the vote to Acosta’s 26%. Vilardi was in third with 12%, followed by Scanlan at 9%, Felton at 7% and Sherrill at 3%.

Frankel is dominating as well. She’s currently up over Weiss by a margin of 87%-13%.

Loomer became a right-wing favorite thanks to her numerous attention-grabbing stunts on social media. She also generated controversy for her anti-Muslim remarks and other antics. Loomer supported Hallandale Beach Commissioner Anabelle Lima-Taub after Lima-Taub claimed Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, a Muslim, might “blow up Capitol Hill.”

Loomer was also banned from Twitter after calling Minnesota U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar “anti-Jewish.” Facebook, Instagram, Medium, and several other social media platforms have cast Loomer aside as well.

Nevertheless, Rep. Matt Gaetz and longtime GOP operative Roger Stone recently endorsed Loomer as she sought the CD 21 nod.

When Gaetz noted Loomer’s victory online, the President retweeted the message and commented “Big win Matt!”

Loomer was able to consistently raise money as well, crossing the $1 million mark by late July. While that total put her well ahead of her GOP competitors, Loomer spent big on fundraising fees just to collect that total in the first place. That led to much of her funding going out of her campaign as quickly as it came in.

Acosta has not held public office before but managed to secure an endorsement from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. He failed to raise much money, however.

Felton runs a business featuring several exotic animals. She focused on the issue of exotic animal ownership during her campaign, arguing animal rights groups should not advocate against humans owning them.

Scanlan spent more than two decades working for the Jupiter Police Department after his time in the Air Force. He told the Palm Beach Post his top three issues are clean water, protecting seniors and lowering prescription drug prices.

Vilardi made IRS reforms a pillar of his campaign.

Though Loomer has attracted plenty of controversy, Sherrill may be even further on the fringe. She advocates for the wild QAnon conspiracy, which believes in the existence of a secret, elite pedophile ring where rich people abuse and eat children.

Loomer will face a tough slog come November. Democrats have a 17.5-point advantage over Republicans in terms of voter registration within the district. Frankel won reelection in 2016 by more than 25 points and ran unopposed in 2018.

While Loomer led her Republican rivals in fundraising, she’s still trailing Frankel significantly in cash on hand. Loomer holds around $220,000 as of July 29 while Frankel retains more than $1.25 million.

Write-in candidates Piotr Blass and Sylvia Caravetta also ran, as did non-party affiliated candidate Charleston Malkemus. The General Election is Nov. 3.

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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