(July 20, 2020 / JNS) The political action committee of the Republican Jewish Coalition announced its endorsement on Monday of neurosurgeon John Cowan ahead of the Aug. 11 run-off in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District to succeed retiring Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.).
RJC executive director Matt Brooks said that while his organization “seldom gets involved in Republican primaries,” it is “making a rare exception to announce our strong support for Dr. Cowan. The importance of the outcome of this run-off is too great for us to stay on the sidelines.”
Last month, the RJC announced that it would not endorse businesswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, a candidate in a Georgia Republican run-off who has made anti-Semitic and other racist remarks.
Greene has come under fire for trafficking in conspiracy theories and posing for photos with former Ku Klux Klan leader Chester Doles and posting them on social media.
Brooks warned that, if elected, Greene “would take our party in the wrong direction. Greene came to national attention for all the wrong reasons: repeatedly using offensive language in long online video diatribes, promoting bizarre political conspiracy theories, and refusing to admit a mistake after posing for photos smiling side by side with a long-time KKK leader.”
“By contrast, Dr. Cowan, a respected neurosurgeon, has demonstrated the right principles: denouncing all types of bigotry and violent extremism, emphasizing strong roots in his district and speaking out strongly for mainstream conservative values, including support for President Trump and a strong pro-Israel stance,” said Brooks.
“Throughout its history, the RJC has consistently stood up and spoken out clearly against bigotry and extremism in our party, the most recent example being our support for the primary defeat last month of [Iowa] Congressman Steve King,” he continued. “We are honored to stand with Dr. Cowan in his effort to put the people of Georgia’s 14th district first and give them representation in Congress that they can be proud of.”
Cowan told JNS that he is “a strong supporter of Israel” and recognizes how “important the relationship between our two countries is.”
“In Congress, I will continue to support U.S. financial and military support, ensure the safety of the Israeli people, oppose anti-Israel prejudice, continue to support joint anti-terrorism missions, support the Israeli-U.S. economic relationship, combat Palestinian aggression and make sure Iran is kept in check,” said Cowan. “In the U.S., we must work to ensure that anti-Semitic speech and actions are called out and not tolerated. There is no place for such hate in our society. Israel will have no greater friend in Congress than me.”
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) also endorsed Cowan, saying in a statement that “the comments made by Ms. Greene are disgusting, and don’t reflect the values of equality and decency that make our country great.”
Greene has been endorsed by prominent right-wingers, including Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Charlie Kirk, founder of the pro-Trump youth group Turning Point USA.
Cowan and Greene are vying to face Democratic nominee Kevin Van Ausdal, who works in the financial technology industry, in November.
Georgia state Rep. Matt Gurtler, who will face firearms dealer Andrew Clyde in a run-off on Aug. 11 in the state’s Ninth Congressional District, has also posed for photos with Doles, who has a criminal record that includes beating a black male nearly to death because he was seen accompanying a white woman and violating federal gun laws.
Doles attended the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., marked by violence between far-right parties and protesters that led to the death of Heather Heyer, 32, after a 20-year-old man from Ohio rammed a crowd of people with his car.
Gurtler told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he, as requested by a constituent, appeared at an event for “a pro-gun, conservative group that supports [U.S.] President [Donald] Trump” that was founded by Doles. Gurtler claims that after the event, photos were taken with the speakers. The “context is straightforward,” he told the outlet.
Gurtler and Clyde are vying to succeed Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), who is running against incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) in November to finish the final two years of the term of Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), who retired at the end of 2019 due to health reasons.
(In November, all candidates for Isakson’s seat, regardless of partisan affiliation, will be on the November ballot.)
If no candidate gets at least 50 percent of the vote, a runoff will be held in January.
The Ninth Congressional District will hold a Democratic run-off between U.S. Army veteran and actor Devin Pandy and small-business owner and social activist Brooke Siskin.
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