Far-right activist Laura Loomer, who has been banned from multiple social media platforms for incendiary comments, won the Republican primary for the US House district in Florida that’s the home of President Donald Trump and his Mar-a-Lago resort.
Loomer beat five other candidates to capture her party’s nomination, winning about 43% of the vote as of Wednesday morning, according to unofficial results from the Florida division of elections.
But Loomer’s chances in November against the Democratic incumbent Rep. Lois Frankel are less certain in a district that leans heavily Democratic. Her victory is emblematic of how the GOP has not discounted but embraced candidates who have a record of incendiary rhetoric or who support conspiracy theories.
Loomer has been removed from multiple social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for her anti-Muslim comments.
Before she was banned from Twitter, Loomer wrote in 2017 that “I never want another Muslim entering this country” and used hashtags such as #ProudIslamophobe, according to The Arizona Republic.
In the wake of a terror attack in New York in 2017, she was banned from Uber and Lyft after making comments discouraging the employment of Muslims, NBC News reported at the time.
In videos posted to her campaign website, Loomer, who’s Jewish, also has targeted US Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who are Muslim, accusing them of anti-Semitism.
She has pushed conspiracy theories, like accusing the student survivors of the 2018 Parkland shooting of being fed lines, and that same year saying she “didn’t buy” that pipe bombs were sent to CNN and prominent Democrats. After an investigation, Cesar Sayoc apologized and pleaded guilty for mailing 16 improved explosive devices. He was sentenced to 20 years and no one was physically harmed by his devices.
Loomer calls herself an investigative journalist and has previously worked for the controversial website, Project Veritas, whose deceptive investigative tactics have drawn criticism.
While he did not endorse Loomer, the President retweeted in support of her campaign and congratulated her on Tuesday after news of her win.
“Great going Laura. You have a great chance against a Pelosi puppet!” Trump tweeted Tuesday night.
His kudos to Loomer come after his praise last week for Georgia Republican candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene, who locked up her party’s nomination for a US House race and appears poised to win a seat in Congress in a solidly GOP district. Greene also has a history of inflammatory rhetoric, including Islamophobic comments, and has made positive statements about the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory.
Asked about Loomer and Greene’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and if those views belong in Congress, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters on Wednesday, “The President routinely congratulates those who have officially gotten the Republican nomination for Congress. He does that as a matter of course.”
“He hasn’t done a deep dive into the statements by these two particular women. I don’t know if he has even seen that, but he supports the Muslim community. He supports the community of faith more broadly in this country,” McEnany said during a press briefing at the White House.
The Trumps voted in Florida’s congressional primary Tuesday after designating someone to pick up and drop off their ballots in Palm Beach, an official familiar with the matter told CNN. But the White House declined to say who they voted for.
Last year, the President and first lady had changed their permanent residence to the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach.
Some of Trump’s top allies, including Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Roger Stone, endorsed Loomer.
She had more than $1 million in campaign contributions, with Infowars founder and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones included among her donors.
Frankel won Tuesday’s Democratic primary with 86% of the vote as of Wednesday morning, according to the Florida division of elections. She has represented the district since 2017, after defeating her Republican challenger by nearly 28 percentage points in the 2016 election. She ran unopposed in the 2018 midterms.
Trump won Florida in the 2016 presidential election, but the 21st Congressional District went to Hillary Clinton by a margin of nearly 20 points.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.