The Jewish population of the 14th district is small, but the re-election bid by first-term Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has attracted Jewish interest in metro Atlanta and beyond.
Greene’s controversial statements (some adjudged to be antisemitic) and actions have garnered her considerably more attention than normally accrues to a first-term member. One month after she was sworn in, some of those statements and social media posts prompted the Democratic-controlled House to strip Greene of her committee assignments, an act that seemed only to energize her.
In an April interview with Axios, Greene, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, said: “I say the things that people care about and say at home.”
The Republican Jewish Coalition has continued to distance itself from Greene, endorsing one of her five primary challengers, health care executive Jennifer Strahan. In 2020, the RJC took the unusual step of endorsing Greene’s primary runoff opponent and then not supporting her in the general election.
The lone synagogue in the district is Rodef Shalom Congregation in Rome, a Reform congregation with 15-20 families, served by rabbis in Atlanta.
Redistricting after the 2020 Census made one notable change to the reliably Republican district, adding a racially diverse portion of southwest Cobb County that formerly was part of the 13th district, represented by Democratic Rep. David Scott.
Of Greene’s primary challengers in her bid for re-election, Strahan trailed by 30 percentage points in a poll conducted in January. Further behind were Eric Cunningham, James Haygood, Dr. Charles Lutin, and Seth Synstelien.
On the Democratic side, Marcus Flowers, Wendy Davis, and Holly McCormack are seeking their party’s nomination.
Greene told Axios that the presence of challengers “excites the mainstream media and the Washington, D.C., bubble, because they’re like: ‘Oh, people are running against Marjorie Taylor Greene; maybe we can get rid of her.’ But honestly, it’s really nothing at all.”
Strahan told Axios: “There are too many serious issues at stake to not have a serious representative who’s here to serve, not just be a social media celebrity.”
Lutin, who is Jewish, has called Greene “an unacceptable person serving in public office in any capacity.”
As of March 31, Greene reported raising nearly $8.4 million and had $3 million cash on hand, compared with some $158,000 cash on hand reported by Strahan. Flowers topped the Democrats, reporting $7 million raised and $1.9 million available.
RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks told Jewish Insider on March 29: “If you are a conservative Republican who cares about the issues facing America, if you are a Trump conservative in that district, you will get somebody in [like] Jennifer Strahan who shares those views without all the baggage that comes with Marjorie Taylor Greene.”
“Jennifer is a terrific candidate and she’s the strongest one running against Marjorie Taylor Greene,” Brooks told Jewish Insider, describing Strahan as “a true conservative who doesn’t traffic in antisemitic conspiracy theories, doesn’t speak to white nationalist organizations and doesn’t applaud and cheer on” Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger ruled May 6 that Greene would remain on the ballot, after state Judge Charles Beaudrot denied a challenge based on her alleged participation in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection on Capitol Hill. Beaudrot ruled that “challengers have produced insufficient evidence to show that Rep. Greene ‘engaged’ in that insurrection after she took the oath of office on January 3, 2021.”
- Dave Schechter
- 14th District
- Marjorie Taylor Greene
- Republican Jewish Coalition
- Jennifer Strahan
- Rodef Shalom Congregation
- Democratic Rep. David Scott.
- Cobb County
- Eric Cunningham
- James Haygood
- Dr. Charles Lutin
- Seth Synstelien
- RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks
- Jewish Insider
- Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger
- Judge Charles Beaudrot
- Jan. 6