Republican AOC Laura Loomer gains steam in Florida congressional run
Laura Loomer, a 26-year-old conservative provocateur running for Congress in the Sunshine State, is gaining strength with activists and donors buzzing about the possibility she is the conservative answer to New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“She’s the Republicans' AOC,” longtime GOP strategist Roger Stone gushed to The Post. “She’s young. She’s energetic. She’s feisty. She’s anti-establishment, and she has an enormous national following, as does AOC, which can help finance a congressional race.”
Like the Queens/Bronx congresswoman, few took Loomer seriously when she declared her candidacy in the heavily-blue 21st district back in August 2019. Long considered a fringe GOP voice, with stints at James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas and the Canadian far-right Rebel Media, she is most well known for her strident criticism of Islam, which has resulted in bans from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Medium, Paypal, Venmo, GoFundMe, Lyft, Uber, Uber Eats and MGM Resorts.
But she is raising serious money. Loomer’s campaign collected $204,786 in the first quarter of 2020, according to April filings with the Federal Election Commission, bringing her total haul to nearly $600,000 — significantly more than her eight GOP primary rivals combined.
Among her more than 9,000 individual donors are some big names: Home Depot billionaire Bernard Marcus ($2,800) and Eric Javits, a former US ambassador ($1,000).
Karen Giorno, a 30-year veteran of GOP politics who served as Donald Trump’s 2016 Florida state director, is running Loomer’s campaign. The district is home to the president’s Mar-a-Lago club and now his official residence.
Critics have frequently labeled Loomer’s commentary as racist and Islamophobic. After news emerged that Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect in a terrorist attack in New York City which killed eight people, was an Uber Driver, Loomer called for the creation of ride-share app that would not employ Muslims. She told The Post the remark was intended to “raise awareness” about vetting drivers and that she was “not sorry” about it.
New Yorkers may remember her better for such colorful stunts as disrupting a Trump-mocking rendition of Julius Caesar at Shakespeare in the Park, chaining herself to Twitter’s New York headquarters, protesting a women’s march in Foley Square, and placing a burqa on the fearless girl statue on Wall Street.
Loomer said her social-media gag order was partly what inspired her run.
“They silenced me and violated my civil rights,” Loomer told The Post. “I started thinking to myself, that what happened to me will happen to everyday Americans who don’t have my soap box.”
In addition to taking on big tech, Loomer has marketed herself as strongly pro-Israel, tough on terrorism, pro-gun and an unswerving supporter of President Trump.
If elected, Loomer said she planned to take on AOC and her Squad mates — several of whom she casually refers to as “Jihadis.”
“I am a one-woman squad,” she said. “Republicans need more firepower. They need people who aren’t going to cower in fear of these women.”
Campaign manager Giorno said, “The experience I had on the campaign with Donald Trump is really one of the reasons why I took a look at Laura Loomer. She reminded me a little bit of Donald Trump. She is very frenetic, in a good way, constant energy, high expectations of herself and others … she impressed me and I don’t get impressed very easily.”
Team Loomer said they expect to blow out the crowded GOP field in the Aug. 18 primary before heading into a final matchup with the Democratic incumbent — Lois Frankel, a former West Palm Beach mayor elected to Congress in 2013. In 2016, she prevailed over Republican Paul Spain with 62.7% of the vote, even as Donald Trump went on to win the state by more than 100,000 votes.
Stone said Frankel is a weaker incumbent than Queens Rep. Joe Crowley, who AOC famously knocked off in a huge upset.