GOP Rep. Dan Webster narrowly defeats far-right activist Laura Loomer in Florida

NEW YORK (AP) — Republican incumbent Florida Rep. Dan Webster narrowly beat Laura Loomer, a far-right provocateur in Florida on Tuesday who has been banned from some social media over anti-Muslim and other remarks.

Webster had been in a surprisingly close race against Loomer, a nationally known activist who sought to align herself with former President Donald Trump.

Webster, who has served central Florida districts since 2011, won the primary of a race in Florida’s 11th district, home to The Villages, the nation’s largest retirement community and a GOP stronghold.

FOLLOW LIVE: 2022 Florida Primary Election Results

Loomer ran unsuccessfully for the House in 2020, winning a Republican primary but losing the general election that year to incumbent Democrat Lois Frankel for a seat in the Palm Beach area that includes the Trump resort Mar -A-Lago.

On social media, Loomer regularly posted conspiracy theories and misinformation surrounding Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, the first Somali-American elected to Congress. Among them was the false claim that Omar and other Democrats were plotting to institute sharia law in Minnesota.

In other races, redrawn maps reorganizing the US House districts in New York City threatened the political career of a first-term progressive and ensured the ouster of one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress.

The scramble has led to contentious races between Democrats in the nation’s second-largest blue state, with challengers and incumbents sensing a rare window to win or lose power in Tuesday’s primary election.

There was an added degree of uncertainty about how the New York congressional primary contests will play out, as voter turnout is expected to be low. It was the second day of primary elections in New York this summer after the state and state Assembly primaries were held two months ago. New York voters aren’t used to voting in primaries so late this summer — and certainly not used to voting them twice — and many found their longstanding district lines had shifted, adding to the confusion.

The primary elections for the U.S. House seats in Florida presented a test for a conservative firebrand with the specter of a federal investigation looming over him.


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