Democrat Marcus Flowers knows the odds are against his bid to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in her ruby-red northwest Georgia district. But he made clear in the rollout of his congressional campaign that he's faced plenty of harrowing challenges before.
The political newcomer unveiled his campaign Monday with a splashy video that sharply contrasts himself with Greene, the disgraced freshman legislator stripped of her committee assignments by her House colleagues for her embrace of hateful and dangerous conspiracy theories.
Flowers outlines a background that included overcoming a troubled childhood, serving in the U.S. Army and then years as a military contractor with "top-secret clearance" in combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan before deciding to compete for the seat.
"I've spent my life serving my country in combat zones across the world. But I never thought I'd see one here in the United States," he said in the video, which shows images of the Jan. 6 insurrection egged on by lies about systemic voter fraud promoted by former President Donald Trump and echoed by Greene.
"Her twisted conspiracy theories might have made her famous, but they haven't done a damn thing to help the people here in our district."
Sparked by Greene's polarizing persona, the race for the seat is fast getting crowded. Flowers is one of at least four Democrats who have filed paperwork to challenge Greene, and several Republicans are eyeing the race as well.
They see an opening after Greene was exiled from two committees in an extraordinary rebuke last month for her support of extremist ideology, which has included support for the QAnon conspiracy, remarks suggesting the Sept. 11 attacks were plotted by the government and claims that a Jewish cabal used an orbital laser beam to spark a deadly wildfire.
She renounced some of her claims in a House speech last month and told reporters she apologizes for "saying all those things that are wrong and offensive." She also said her demotion has "freed" her up to push far-right conservative policies around the nation.
Heading into the 2022 election, Greene is heavily favored to carry the 14th district, which spans from Atlanta's northwestern exurbs through the rural corner of the state. The contours are sure to be revised, however, when legislators redraw the district later this year with new Census data.
Flowers contended he had a shot no matter how the district looks. He said the district's voters didn't have a true choice last year because the Democratic nominee dropped out shortly before the election.
"I am running to give people a choice," Flowers said. "A choice between chaos and stability. A choice of someone who thinks Sept. 11 was a hoax, and someone who was serving our country on Sept. 11 and then spent the next 10 years in war zones."
He said residents in the district, now dotted with billboards calling for Greene to resign, are "hip to her game" and want an effective lawmaker in Congress.
"I'm tired of politicians treating fellow Americans like the enemy just because of different political views," Flowers said. "I've actually seen the enemy up close. When we work together, Americans are the solution, not the problem."
This article is written by Greg Bluestein from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.