When a provocative internet pundit banned from most social media won a six-person Congressional primary, America, well, freaked out. But Republican Laura Loomer’s quirky run against Democrat Lois Frankel generated few headlines since.
It’s not necessarily a huge surprise.
A St. Pete Polls survey of likely voters in Florida’s 21st Congressional District, commissioned for Florida Politics, found Frankel ahead 61% to 33%, with independent Charleston Malkemus pulling in 2%. Division of Elections book closing reports show Democrats outnumber Republicans 233,937 to 144,394 in this deep blue district; the 151,322 no-party-affiliate voters there actually outnumber card-carrying members of the GOP.
But considering this district does have one rather prominent Republican voter registered — namely President Donald Trump — there remain powerful eyes on this race. Indeed, Trump tweeted his support for Loomer the night she secured the GOP nomination. And a Trump tweet these days remains a coveted prize in GOP circles normally reserved for sure electoral bets and battleground candidates.
Loomer recently made the speaker’s list for AMPFest 2020, an American Priority conference at Trump National Doral resort.
Frankel, meanwhile, has largely ignored Loomer. An institution in West Palm Beach, she brings a storied resume that precedes Loomer’s internet fame and even Trump’s political ambitions. A longtime state lawmaker and the first female minority leader in the Florida House, she enjoyed brief national stature during the 2000 recount. After term limits went into effect, Frankel turned to local politics and served as Mayor of West Palm Beach from 2003 until 2011, then won her seat in the U.S. House in 2013.
A smatter of national attention came to this race thanks to Loomer’s presence. The South Florida blogger earned a national following with provocative reports on controversial outlets like Project Veritas, a site best known for releasing secret recordings and skewed edits of liberal organizations. In 2015, she was suspended from Barry University for involvement in a sting trying to show the school supported ISIS, according to an expose site.
That’s certainly a different resume from Frankel, whose website touts her support for the Paris Climate Agreement and an endorsement from the South Florida Sun Sentinel. A list of progressive bonafides like support for expanded health care coverage and LGBTQ rights sits alongside some district specific issues like an unwavering support for Israel.
Wherever Trump’s vote went, it seems likely Frankel will be returning to Washington next year.