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Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor-Greene endorses SC Rep Tom Rice opponent in GOP race

APTOPIX New Congress (copy)

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., wears a "Trump Won" face mask as she arrives on the floor of the House to take her oath of office on opening day of the 117th Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. File/Erin Scott/Pool via AP

MYRTLE BEACH — Controversial Georgia U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene has endorsed an opponent of South Carolina's only Republican congressman who backed impeaching Donald Trump.

Taylor-Greene announced Oct. 19 she is backing newcomer Graham Allen in his bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, giving the Trump-aligned candidate additional national visibility days after his campaign reported diminishing fundraising numbers from the start of his bid.

In a message, Greene — a divisive figure in Washington for her embrace of conspiracy theories and barbed confrontations with Democrats and Republicans in Congress — described Allen as a “true patriot” who would “not cower in fear like so many spineless RINOs who care more about being liked by the Fake News & their Dem counterparts than they do about America First.”

“Tom Rice is too weak, too timid, and too afraid to fight back against the Democrats’ communist takeover of America,” Greene said on Twitter. “He cannot be trusted.”

Greene later followed up with a news release, headlined "Republican Traitors Who Join Democrats Will Be Primaried" in bold, highlighted text. 

Rice, who is running for his fifth term in Congress, drew the ire of Trump backers and other members of the GOP over his vote to impeach former President Donald Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol. He was one of 10 Republicans to do so.

The vote attracted numerous challengers to face him in next year's GOP primary for the 7th Congressional District covering Florence, Myrtle Beach and the northeastern Pee Dee region of the state.

Allen is a 12-year U.S. Army veteran who leveraged his extensive social media-following into a career as a social media personality for Glenn Beck’s BlazeTV and, later, as a contributor for the conservative activist group Turning Point USA. He is the leading fundraiser among the nine candidates lined up to challenge Rice, boasting nearly three-quarters of a million dollars raised and more than $303,000 in the bank, according to campaign finance reports filed on Oct. 15.

His accounts still lag well behind Rice’s war chest of more than $1.48 million.

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In February 2021, Greene was removed from her committee assignments in Washington over past statements questioning the validity of a school shooting in Parkland, Fla., and in support of the fringe right-wing “QAnon” movement. She has endorsed numerous, hardline conservative candidates for office in the past year, including Alabama congressman Mo Brooks and Florida congressional candidate Laura Loomer, who has a long history of derogatory statements toward Muslims.

Rice outraises other SC 7th District Republicans in bid to keep seat amid impeachment vote

Allen’s fundraising has dropped off significantly in recent months. After raising more than $409,000 in the first three months on the campaign trail, he reported raising just under $237,000 to close the third quarter of 2020, and has spent money faster than all but two of the leading challengers to Republicans who supported impeachment.

Rice, meanwhile, raised roughly $401,000 this past quarter, while S.C. House Majority Whip Russell Fry — the latest entrant into the race — reported just under $225,000 in receipts this past quarter.

Allen did not immediately return numerous requests for comment. Rice also could not be reached.

Rice stunned the South Carolina political world in his surprise vote to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 protests by saying while he didn’t think the president exactly called for protesters to storm the Capitol, the way Trump responded to the violence was unacceptable.

“When it got out of hand, Trump didn’t do anything," Rice said at the time. "He was watching it on TV … and tweeting that Vice President Mike Pence didn’t have courage,” Rice said.

“He never came out and did a press conference; he never spoke to the country," he continued. "Here we sit a week later and six people were killed, including two Capitol police officers, and he hasn’t addressed the nation yet? He hasn’t offered condolences to the hundreds that were injured or for the two police officers that were killed?”

After the protests, Rice still objected to the election results, saying he was concerned that the constitutional powers given to state legislatures had been violated in swing states by judges and other officials changing election laws.

Contact Nick Reynolds at 843-834-4267. Follow him on Twitter @IAmNickReynolds.

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