Laura Loomer, who describes herself as the “most banned woman and censored woman in America,” has found a way to break through her corporate-imposed wall of silence: by running for Congress in Donald Trump’s backyard.
The political stuntwoman is currently in Palm Beach, Florida, and is competing in a GOP primary for Florida’s 21st District. That also happens to be where Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate is located and the president is registered to vote in 2020. And, although Florida’s 21st District is safely Democratic—voters there supported Hillary Clinton over Trump by a 19.5-point margin in 2016—Loomer has already gained a lot from her longshot bid. She’s relevant again. Winning the race is almost beside the point.
Her plan to present herself as a politically incorrect social media martyr-turned-Trumptastic tribute is practically foolproof. Whereas Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Lyft, Venmo, GoFundMe, Medium, Uber, and UberEats have standards of behavior for members, the United States Congress does not. “Member of Congress” is one of the few jobs where Loomer’s anti-Muslim tweets, musings that mass shootings are false flag operations, and outlandish protests aren’t automatic disqualifications. In fact, those positions will probably help her attract a committed, albeit nutty, base of support. But Loomer is after more than a seat in Congress. She’s using the race to test whether election laws can be used as an end-around the gag social media has placed upon her.
What’s surprising is how well it seems to be working. Loomer has transformed from a fringe member of the alt-right Internet to someone embraced by people in the highest levels of GOP leadership.
That’s a significant turnaround since last May, when she sounded like a woman on the brink. Freshly banned from Facebook and Instagram, Loomer wailed like a teenager who had her phone taken away, which, well, is pretty much what happened. In an interview with InfoWars’ Alex Jones, she said she “begged” President Trump for assistance in regaining access to social media platforms. “These people don’t understand, like, my life is unlivable at this point in time,” she said. “Like, what is the point?”
She found her purpose later that summer when she announced her bid for Congress on August 2. Since then, Loomer has received what can only be described as a warm embrace from Trump’s Republican party apparatus.
President Trump has tweeted supportively of her race, his presidential campaign is renting out her email list, and Trump’s 2016 Florida Director Karen Giorno is managing her campaign. Republican Rep. Jim Jordan appears to have rented out her list, too. And Loomer claims endorsements from high-profile personalities and friends of Trump including Roger Stone, Jeanine Pirro, Bo Snerdly, and Michelle Malkin.
Last month, Florida Republican party chairman and Senate Majority Leader Joe Gruters held a press conference with her to promote legislation that he said was inspired by Loomer. The bill, “Stop Social Media Censorship Act'” would allow people such as Loomer to sue Twitter for damages if their speech is censored or deleted. It’s commonly known as “Loomer’s Law.” Charlie Spies, former counsel for the Republican National Committee, the Federal Election Commission, and Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign—as well as a stint as a Jeb Bush PAC treasurer—is representing Loomer in a lawsuit filed against Twitter and the Federal Elections Commission.
Take Laura Loomer’s name out of the picture here, and you have what appears to be a well-connected, establishment campaign designed for a rising party star.
Even without access to Twitter and Facebook, Loomer is raising money. At the end of the last reporting cycle, records show Loomer has raised more than $350,000 and had $115,000 cash on hand. Her closest competitor in the eight-way GOP primary had raised $44,000 and had only $6,400 on hand. To put this in perspective, the congresswoman Loomer wants to unseat, Rep. Louis Frankel raised $589,000 this cycle. Not all that much more than Loomer. (Though the congresswoman is sitting on a fat war chest and has more than $1 million cash on hand.)
But Loomer has another weapon: Appealing directly to Trump. In one of the great ironies of the modern conservatism, Spies—the swamp creature who did time at the RNC, and with Mitt Romney, and working for Jeb!—wrote a piece for Breitbart complaining how, “Loomer is the Republican frontrunner in President Trump’s home congressional district, yet she and her campaign are prohibited from responding to Frankel’s Twitter attacks on Trump.”
In other words, Loomer is arguing that she needs her Twitter account not only to advance her campaign but to defend Donald Trump. It’s not clear why she thinks he needs defending—just look at all the #winning that’s going on!—but there you have it.
In case you wonder what Twitter Loomer would look like, she told the Daily Mail she’s branded Rep. Frankel as “Lazy Louis” because “she’s politically lazy and fat.”
Loomer’s website says that by donating to her campaign, “not only will you be getting rid of a literal parrot for [Nancy] Pelosi’s agenda, you’ll be making me the new Congresswoman for Florida 21 AND the representative to the Trump Family who recently switched their voter registration to my home district.” (The Trumps changed their primary residence from Trump Tower in New York to Mar-a-Lago in Florida last year.)
It’s not a bad pitch: Let me be the Trump family’s personal representative in Congress! Maybe that’s not the best way to win an election in a district that’s D +20. But there are reasons to run for office besides winning elections. She says it’s all about regaining her right to free speech. Inherent in that quest is a search for an audience.
Loomer’s previous stunts include, for instance, pinning a yellow Star of David to her chest before handcuffing herself to the door of Twitter’s New York headquarters. (Thankfully, in an act of mercy, the police freed her after she threatened to urinate on herself and complained about the cold.) If nothing else, maybe her campaign will prompt the most powerful man on the planet to help her get her Twitter account back. Maybe she could even get a blue check mark.
When asked about her connection to Florida 21st district, the Loomer campaign noted that she attended college in Miami for four years and moved back to Florida to continue her work as an investigative journalist following a stint with James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas in New York. The campaign said she’s been living there for two years and had initially reached out to Rep. Frankel for help in combating her social media bans, to no avail.
Loomer seems to have found a better solution, though. If the president of the United States votes for her in 2020, what further validation does she need?