Laura Loomer—a far-right activist so extreme that she would have easily eclipsed Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene as the most far-right congresswoman—lost her bid for the GOP nomination to Congress in Florida’s 11th Congressional District.
The Associated Press called the race in favor of longtime Republican Rep. Daniel Webster late Tuesday night. Webster, who was the preferred candidate of religious-right groups like the Family Research Council, had clinched 51 percent of the vote; Loomer had won 44 percent.
Nevertheless, Loomer refused to concede and declared the election fraudulent.
“I’m not conceding because I’m a winner, and the reality of this is our Republican Party is broken to its core,” she said to supporters after the results came in Tuesday night.
“What we have done tonight has really honestly shocked the nation, we have further exposed the corruption in our own feckless, cowardly Republican Party.”
“It breaks my heart that we are in a position in this country today where the Republican Party establishment is participating in the voter fraud machine. And I stand on the stage before you today with the American flag behind me to tell you that we do not live in a free country. We do not live in a country with free and fair elections,” she said.
— Mike DeForest (@DeForestNews6) August 24, 2022
Only about an hour before, Loomer seemed to acknowledge that she would lose to Webster, Mike DeForest of News 6 reported. “A win’s a win, and a loss is a loss,” Loomer told a supporter who was trying to cheer her up. White nationalist Lauren Witzke interjected. “No, no, no. You are our next congresswoman,” she told Loomer.
Loomer’s baseless accusation of fraud and refusal to concede was predictable—if not still damaging to public trust in the integrity of our elections. Since former President Donald Trump refused to concede his loss in the 2020 election, every Trumpian Republican candidate running for federal, state, and local level who loses can now claim electoral fraud and allege a grand conspiracy against them even if they’ve only won a few hundred votes.
A score of far-right activists attended Loomer’s planned “victory party,” including Witzke, who was the Delaware GOP nominee for Senate in 2020, Nick Fuentes and Tyler Russell of the white nationalist America First movement, Peter Brimelow of the white nationalist-promoting VDARE website, and Edward Szall, who has somehow only become more extreme since he left his job at the brazenly antisemitic TruNews.
“We’re so proud of you, Laura!” Witzke posted on Telegram with a photo of the “celebration.”
Far-right activists and operatives predictably jumped on Loomer’s false election fraud narrative or else tried to spin her loss into a win.
Radical conspiracy theorist Stew Peters said that the election must be rigged, writing on Telegram, “Here’s some fake results from a fake election – because, every election is fake and rigged.” Tyler Russell, who has dubbed himself the leader of the Canadian offshoot of the America First movement, agreed. “LOOMER IS RIGHT FOR NOT CONCEDING! RINOS ARE RIGGING!” he wrote on Telegram.
Even ahead of voters casting their votes, Trumpian operative Ali Alexander—who led the so-called “Stop the Steal” campaign to keep Trump in power and who baselessly alleged voter fraud to justify such efforts—suggested the only way Webster could win would be through fraud: “don’t put cheating and grifting past the establishment,” he wrote.
On Tuesday night, Alexander briefly seemed to acknowledge Loomer’s loss, blaming Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene for not donating to Loomer as well as Trump’s advisers for keeping the former president from endorsing her.
“Real talk: Gaetz or MTG could’ve put Loomer over the top. $200,000 more dollars could’ve,” Alexander wrote on Telegram. “Trump’s advisors not blocking a Loomer endorsement could’ve put her over the top.”
But Ali went on to call the primary a “Rigged game,” and suggested something nefarious was afloat. “Just magically outside the margin of a runoff? What a coincidence!” he wrote. In another post, he wrote, “STOP THE STEAL.”
Fuentes—who has referred to Loomer “as one of our own”—spun her loss as a win for the white nationalist America First movement.
“Despite being the most cancelled woman in America,” Fuentes wrote, “She out-raised her opponent in every single quarter and came within 6,000 votes of Congress.”
“Tonight showed that there is very little left in the way of REAL AMERICA FIRST PATRIOTS like Laura Loomer from TAKING OVER!”
As Right Wing Watch reported ahead of the GOP primary, Loomer was eager to spread her extremism throughout the halls of Congress and promised to promote both white nationalism and Christian nationalism. We reported:
Loomer has long rallied behind white nationalist figures, spread right-wing conspiracy theories, and promoted disinformation. She proclaimed that she did not care about what happened to Muslims in the 2019 Christchurch shooting in New Zealand, where more than 50 people were murdered by a white supremacist.
In March, Loomer joined white nationalist Jared Taylor’s podcast and told him that she thought her white nationalist views would get her elected to Congress. She switched districts, she said, because Florida’s 11th District has more white people and she could be more honest about her extreme right-wing views. She went on to praise Taylor’s “white advocacy”—the preferred term of white nationalists to describe their efforts to secure a nation ruled by white people.
Loomer addressed her supporters in a Telegram post Wednesday afternoon. In it, she accused the Republican Party of being “an active participant in the voter fraud machine here in America,” called for Webster to resign, and again, refused to concede, illustrating the monster the Republican Party itself created by choosing to peddle election fraud conspiracy theories in its effort to keep Trump in power.
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