ROME, Georgia — Marjorie Taylor Greene is the rare House freshman who is already nearly a household name.
In the two years since she was elected to represent Georgia's 14th Congressional District, Greene has gone from a CrossFit coach with no political experience to a Republican firebrand who counts former President Donald Trump as a friend and supporter and is now known more for her wild antics and incendiary remarks than for policy.
Greene calls members of her own party "pro-pedophile," routinely picks social media fights with Democrats, and had multiple memory lapses recently when asked under oath about her role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
For all of her theatrics, Greene has no real power: She was stripped of her committee assignments for racist remarks she made before she was sworn in. Her in-your-face tactics made her a national name but haven't done much to endear her to constituents who say they've had enough.
"She's an embarrassment," said one Rome voter, who asked the Washington Examiner not to reveal her name for fear of retaliation. "She seems nice enough, but you get her in front of a microphone, and she goes bonkers!"
Democratic strategist David McLaughlin believes that even though there's a "good chunk" of voters who enjoy Greene's "brand of performance art politics," more and more people are growing weary. Voters in the 14th District "probably had no idea that someone like this could win," he said, adding that most of her problematic comments came out after she was the GOP nominee.
"At that point, voters had no chance of stopping her unless they voted for her Democratic opponent, who really didn't even make it all the way to Election Day," McLaughlin said.
That candidate, Kevin Van Ausdal, abruptly ended his campaign for Congress against Greene in September, two months before the general election. The move cleared Greene's path.
This time around, Greene has five GOP challengers gunning for her spot in Georgia's primary election on May 24.
"I think we have a lot of serious issues going on today, and I think we need a serious representative who wants to actually drive positive change and not just celebrity," candidate Jennifer Strahan told the Washington Examiner. "I think we somehow have lost sight of the fact that politics is supposed to be about service, and instead, it's about a bunch of wannabe celebrities who are just chasing the media likes, and that's just not what it's supposed to be about. I have a little boy in kindergarten, and I think about his future, and that's a major reason why I feel like we have to stand up for this."
Strahan is Greene's closest competitor and leads a crowded Republican field. She has billed herself as a "no-nonsense conservative who knows how to get things done" and said the 728,551 people in Georgia's 14th Congressional District deserve better.
"People are just tired of hypocrisy," Strahan said. "I think people want to see results. I think people shouldn't have to sacrifice effectiveness for their conservative values, and that's the mentality that people have. I also think that people recognize that if they just stay away from the polls or keep their heads in the sand, that it's not actually helping either."
Federal Election Commission disclosures show an influx of Republican dollars going to Strahan, a healthcare advisory firm executive. While the funding may not be enough to unseat Greene in the ultraconservative district, it does show the growing frustration with her. One Georgia-based political analyst described the race as the fight for the soul of the GOP.
James Haygood, another candidate challenging Greene in the primary, told the Washington Examiner he voted for her during the last election but has been frustrated by the little she's accomplished.
"Yes, you are supposed to go to Washington to work, but the people of the 14th District elected you to represent them and their needs, and for 15 months, we've had no representation," he said. "She's on no committees, and she cries about, 'Oh, everybody's picking on me,' but it's always somebody else's fault."
Greene did show up in Rome on May 2, the first day of voting, and created a stir.
"You can't find her nowhere, and then all of a sudden, it's early voting, and oh, sweet Jesus, she's cruising the 14th District, and she's making appearances along the way like she's always there," Haygood said.
Democratic challenger Wendy Davis told the Washington Examiner her primary motivation for getting into the race is that she believes the voters of northwest Georgia "deserve a member of Congress who is going to be focused on our community needs" and added that Greene is an "extreme example" of an elected official not doing her job.
Greene seems unfazed. She said that the wave of opponents "excites the mainstream media and the Washington, D.C., bubble, because they're like: 'Oh, people are running against Marjorie Taylor Greene; maybe we can get rid of her.' But honestly, it's really nothing at all."
Barnini Chakraborty is the senior investigations reporter at the Washington Examiner.