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Jewish anti-Muslim provocateur Laura Loomer wins GOP primary in Florida

Far-right conspiracy theorist, banned from Facebook and Twitter for hate speech, receives plaudits from President Donald Trump and Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz

Far-right activist Laura Loomer holds up a sign emblazoned with the logo of Jewish terror group Kach, across the street from a rally organized by Women's March NYC, in New York on January 19, 2019. (AP/Kathy Willens)
Far-right activist Laura Loomer holds up a sign emblazoned with the logo of Jewish terror group Kach, across the street from a rally organized by Women's March NYC, in New York on January 19, 2019. (AP/Kathy Willens)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Laura Loomer, a Jewish right-wing provocateur known for her anti-Muslim rhetoric, has won the Republican primary in the southern Florida congressional district where US President Donald Trump votes.

Her win was swiftly feted by Trump, who tweeted and retweeted several messages of support for the candidate.

The primary win caps a rapid rise for the 27-year-old political activist, whose provocations — and the responses to them — have made her a favorite of the right wing of the Republican Party. In 2017, Loomer, who calls herself an “investigative journalist,” was banned from Uber for calling on the rideshare service to allow riders to reject Muslim drivers.

In 2018, Twitter suspended her account after she called Rep. Ilhan Omar, then a congressional candidate, “anti-Jewish,” which led her to protest by chaining herself to Twitter’s New York office while wearing a yellow Jewish star.

Last year, Facebook banned her amid a purge of people the company said used the platform to promote hate.

Laura Loomer during a protest outside Twitter’s Manhattan offices on November 29, 2018. (Screen capture: Periscope)

Loomer won 42% of the vote in a six-candidate field in the primary on Tuesday. She’ll now face off in November against the Jewish incumbent Democrat, Lois Frankel, who handily bested a challenger from the left, Guido Weiss, with 87% of the vote.

Loomer is likely to lose; Frankel ran unopposed in 2018 and won 63% of the vote in 2016. But she had the endorsement of Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, a far-right figure who is close to Trump.

Trump and Gaetz both congratulated her on Twitter on Tuesday night; so did Marjorie Taylor Greene, a conspiracy theorist who last week won a primary in a heavily Republican district in Georgia.

 

Wins by these far-right figures are presenting a dilemma for the party’s congressional leadership, which has sought to marginalize the extremists. While Trump has frequently endorsed the candidates, he did not endorse Loomer during the primary, although they have supporters in common.

Trump’s longtime adviser, Roger Stone, endorsed Loomer, and Karen Giorno, an official with Trump’s 2016 campaign, managed her campaign.

The 21st District, encompassing parts of Broward County and Palm Beach, includes Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and is where Trump casts his vote.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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