A judge in Georgia ruled on Friday that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is eligible to run for re-election, rejecting a bid from five voters and an election reform group that she was ineligible because she participated in an “insurrection” on January 6, 2021.
The group involved, Free Speech for People, vowed to appeal the decision, but Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger accepted the findings of Georgia Administrative Law Judge Charles Beaudrot and declared Greene officially eligible for the ballot.
The decision is likely to keep Raffensberger in good graces with Republicans in his state amid an election challenge spearheaded by former President Donald Trump, who endorsed a different candidate for re-election after Raffensberger certified his state’s presidential election results in 2020 rather than challenging them as Trump wanted.
Raffensberger wrote in his opinion accepting the ruling that most eligibility challenges refer to candidates’ residency or whether they have paid their taxes.
A question for voters
“In this case, Challengers assert that Representative Greene’s political statements and actions disqualify her from office,” Raffensperger’s decision read. “That is rightfully a question for the voters of Georgia’s 14th Congressional District.”
The challenge was an “unprecedented attack on free speech, on our elections, and on you, the voter,” Greene said in a statement about the case while applauding the decision.
“But the battle is only beginning,” she continued. “The left will never stop their war to take away our freedoms. This ruling gives me hope that we can win and save our country.”
Much of the case against Greene stemmed from a statement she made in the press the day before the January 6 breach, calling that day “our 1776 moment.”
Lawyers arguing against Greene said some Trump supporters used her statement to call for violence and that the day turned out to be more like an “1861 moment,” i.e. civil war.
Many of Greene’s statements have been controversial, and she has been called on them before. During congressional hearings intended to censure and possibly remove her, Greene said she didn’t recall making some of the statements and that she never encouraged violence.
She said she supported the Trump rally but not any plans to storm the Capitol. She posted during the breach asking people to stay calm and be safe and said she was fearful during the breach.
The lawyers used the 14th Amendment, part of which says no one who has participated in an “insurrection” can serve in Congress, but the judge rejected that reasoning and said the people didn’t meet the burden of proof in the case.