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Marjorie Taylor Greene to visit Connecticut

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, an outspoken and controversial conservative, is set to speak at a rally in Plainfield on Oct. 23.

The event is called the QCA America First Rally, and it will start at noon at 1221 Norwich Road, Route 12, Plainfield. The Quinebaug Citizens Alliance, a loose political organization, which did not answer a request for comment but did confirm that Greene’s visit was still on last week, is hosting the event.

Since taking office this year, Greene has faced criticism for supporting the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon. In February, she was exiled from her committees by the U.S. House “for endorsing the executions of Democrats and spreading dangerous and bigoted misinformation,” according to the New York Times.

She also has been reprimanded for racist and antisemitic comments and for downplaying the COVID-19 pandemic. In August, she was suspended from Twitter for a week for sharing misleading information regarding coronavirus vaccines. 

State Rep. Mike France, R-Ledyard, originally was listed as an additional speaker for the event in an invitation sent in September, but later versions of the invitation did not carry his name. France is running for Congress against U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District.

“The Mike France campaign declined the invitation months ago,” France campaign spokesman Alex Avetoom said of the event. “You can’t back out of something you never agreed to be in.”

France and his campaign declined to comment further.

Former state Rep. and Griswold First Selectman Kevin Skulczyck said he has “definitely” been involved with organizing the event. He is the host of a podcast, "The Kevin Alan Show." The latest event flyer features only Greene, Skulczyck and his podcast host, Kyle Reyes.

Skulczyck said he didn’t deal with France directly on why he decided not to participate. But, he said, “I can promise you the initial flyer was put together with folks from his organization involved. A commitment was made, and shortly after they asked to be removed.”

“I do know that he was on originally, but certainly, he didn’t stay on,” he added.

Asked in September about Greene’s visit, Courtney said he was aware she was coming.

“My biggest concern is just some of the involvement on COVID messaging that Twitter put a stop to,” he said before declining to comment further.

Skulcyzck said he had Greene on his podcast for an interview, which is when he invited her to Connecticut.

“I said to the congresswoman, ‘Would you want to come to Connecticut?’” Skulcyzck said. “There’s people who understand and respect what your message is and would probably support and want to be a part of a day and an event where Marjorie Taylor Greene brought the American message.”

Skulcyzck said he hoped the event would bring different people with different political opinions together to mend partisan discord.

On Tuesday, Greene tweeted out a poll asking, “Should America have a national divorce?” in reference to splitting “blue” or Democratic states from “red” or Republican states.

Greene’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

University of Connecticut political science professor Paul Herrnson, an expert on congressional elections and political campaigns, said that while Connecticut “is not a bastion of conservatives, it does have some conservative Republicans, and maybe Greene will get some people to attend, maybe she’ll get some media coverage that will help her a little bit, but it’s very early for voters to focus on congressional elections, so I don’t think it’s going to have much of an effect on anything as far as what will happen with local Republicans this November or next November.”

Herrnson recognized France has a tall hill to climb in his bid to beat Courtney, whom Herrnson described as a “prodigious fundraiser.”

“I don’t know if Greene would be a magnet for Connecticut donors to give money to Mike France and if that kind of acknowledgment would help him, anyway,” Herrnson said. “Courtney now has more than three-quarters of a million dollars on hand for his race, and that’s quite a bit for this stage of the game.”

Herrnson added that in 2020 Courtney raised almost $1 million, while his opponent only managed about $80,000. In 2018, Courtney raised more than $1 million while his opponent didn’t raise enough to file with the Federal Elections Commission.

Herrnson said congressional challengers also are immediately at a disadvantage due in part to the comforts of incumbency.

“Courtney’s pretty good about communicating with his constituents on a regular basis and associating himself with good things, which is a really good strategy for reelection before the campaign season even begins, so he’s got that advantage,” Herrnson said. “He’s got people and groups and PACs who have supported him before, and he knows what kinds of things they respond to. He gets media coverage because people in power get media coverage, so he has all those advantages, and they count for a lot.”

As far as Greene’s visit, Herrnson said it isn’t unusual for a sitting member of Congress to travel outside their district to raise money for a candidate in a competitive race. In Greene’s case, it is “a little unusual because she is so outside the mainstream.”

s.spinella@theday.com

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