EXCLUSIVE: Flowers, a Democrat running in Georgia’s 14th congressional district in the 2022 election, says “Democracy is on the ballot.”
In her first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, freshman Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia has made quite the name for herself.
After serving just one year in office, Greene has become one of the most visible, yet controversial GOP members of Congress, having called for the impeachment of President Joe Biden; equated his administration’s COVID-19 safety policies to the Holocaust; and engaged in heated confrontations with her Democratic colleagues – including calling U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar a “jihad.”
During her 2020 campaign, Greene closely aligned herself with former President Donald Trump and embraced the “Big Lie” that there was voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Despite a pattern of peddling conspiracy theories and making crude remarks, Republican leadership has refrained from reprimanding Greene, though Democrats and a few Republican colleagues in the House voted to remove Greene from her committee assignments.
As Donald Trump put it, Greene is a “future Republican star.”
But Marcus Flowers, who is running for the U.S. House in Greene’s 14th congressional district in Georgia, is hoping to dim Greene’s light this November.
Flowers, an Army veteran who has worked for the United States Department of Defense for more than 20 years, is running on the Democratic ticket in the 2022 election. If he successfully wins against his Democrat opponents in the state’s primary in May, Flowers will face Greene in the general election.
“Everyone that I’ve talked to, they’re embarrassed by Marjorie Taylor Greene,” Flowers told theGrio. “She’s not doing anything for our district.”
Flowers said Greene’s priorities since being elected to Congress have not focused on policy and legislation that actually help her constituents.
“I’ve been out talking to people in the district for the last several months, knocking doors every day. I know what people are concerned about here. It’s not the politics that are going on in Washington,” he added.
“They’re concerned about jobs and the economy. They’re concerned about rural broadband. They’re concerned about infrastructure, education, things that matter to people here in Georgia.”
Greene has attained copious press coverage and has become a national political figure in the Republican Party, traveling around the country on her “America First” tour with accused child sex trafficker Rep. Matt Gaetz. The two have feverishly called for election ballot audits in states where Trump was defeated by Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
Flowers, who boasts his 30 years as a soldier, a defense contractor and government official, said that as someone who’s spent decades defending America’s democracy, he has been disheartened by Greene’s involvement in eroding the public’s trust in America’s democratic norms.
“Marjorie Taylor Greene had been a big part of all of that disinformation and misinformation and questioning the election and saying it was a lie and fraud, and [that] ‘This is our 1776 moment,’” Flowers told theGrio.
“I spent 10 years in Iraq and Afghanistan. I spent about 20 years overseas representing the United States as a soldier, defense contractor and a government official … so I have seen firsthand the damage done by extremism, radicalization and disinformation. I’ve seen countries collapse on that.”
Flowers also took aim at Marjorie Taylor Greene for her reported connection to the Jan. 6 insurrection. “She helped push people into the Capitol that day — I firmly believe that,” he said.
“Watching police officers being beaten with an American flag while a Confederate battle flag was being paraded through the Capitol Rotunda … it was time for someone to stand up.”
Flowers said he’s also running for the U.S. House of Representatives to take on Georgia’s voter restriction law, Senate Bill 202, passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature last year. The law includes several provisions including limiting access to absentee ballots and prohibiting churches and voter advocacy groups from providing food or water to voters waiting in long lines at voting precincts.
“After the most secure election in our history, Republicans have all decided to jump behind the Big Lie because they see that when people vote, Democrats win,” said Flowers.
So far, Flowers has raked in millions of dollars in campaign donations, despite the uphill battle he faces in trying to unseat a pro-Trump opponent in a district where 73% of voters favored Donald Trump over Biden.
But Quentin James, president of The Collective, a political action committee aimed at increasing the number of Black people elected to political office, said he believes Flowers stands a chance.
In addition to “raising real money,” James told theGrio that Flowers could benefit from potentially being on the same ballot as Democratic big names like Stacey Abrams, who is running a second campaign for Georgia governor and Sen. Raphael Warnock, who is running for reelection.
“It’s nothing but a benefit having those names on the same ballot .. we saw voter turnout numbers surge when [Abrams] ran in 2018. The same thing in 2020 with Raphael Warnock,” said James, adding, “That’s all positive news for Marcus Flowers.”
However, James cautioned Flowers from aligning himself too much with national Democrats given the makeup of District 14. He also believes that Greene being stripped of her committee assignments in the House makes her vulnerable to losing support from constituents.
“I think the voters in that district are going to wonder, you know, what is Congresswoman Greene’s ability to represent in Congress when she’s not on any committees?” said James. “Right now, she’s a congresswoman in name only.”
Though District 14 is solidly red, recent redistricting of Georgia’s congressional map following the 2020 Census has shifted the district to include Democratic parts of metro Atlanta, which could give Flowers a fighting chance.
Flowers noted that Greene “quickly condemned the move.”
“She didn’t want those people in our district. Well, I want them in our district and I want to represent them as well as the rest of northwest Georgia. That’s what we need. Somebody in Congress who is going to represent us,” he said.
Ultimately, Flowers said, the quest to defeat Marjorie Taylor Greene is about restoring democracy as some Republicans question the legitimacy of proven secured elections, deny scientific data on COVID-19, and push to overhaul how race and history are taught in classrooms.
“Democracy is on the ballot. That is the most important thing,” Flowers said. “We need to be pushing back against preserving that democracy for future generations.”
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