After speaker defeat, Marjorie Taylor Greene is back stirring the pot: What's next? (2024)

WASHINGTON – Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene suffered a stinging public defeat on the House floor earlier this month when the vast majority of lawmakers in the lower chamber, tired with the Georgia Republican’s antics, voted to kill her push to remove Mike Johnson, R-La., as speaker.

But that loss appeared to be just a minor blip in Greene’s rising career - and it's only amplified talk she could join a future Trump administration or run for a higher office in Georgia like senator or governor.

House lawmakers have “a tendency to think of themselves going to the next level,” one of Greene's fellow GOP colleagues from the Peach State, Rep. Rich McCormick told USA TODAY.

“I don’t think she’s any exception to that," he added. "When you get a lot of media and when you raise a lot of money, there’s a natural tendency to gravitate towards that, so we’ll see how that plays out.”

Most of her current House colleagues have moved on from Greene’s effort and threat to oust Johnson – which failed in anticlimactic fashion – and following the vote, the mild-mannered House speaker told Greene harbors no ill will toward her. The crush of reporters and cameras Greene, who turns 50 years old on Monday, attracted every day while she held back her threat have largely fizzled out as well.

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That’s not to say Greene, a second-term lawmaker running for a third term this November, fell into obscurity after the speaker fight. She quickly made headlines again after a contentious House Oversight Committee hearing where lawmakers threw insults at each other amid allegations of drinking.

Greene took aim at Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas, telling her, “I think your fake eyelashes are messing up what you’re reading.”

Crockett responded in kind: “I’m just curious ... If someone on this committee then starts talking about somebody’s bleach blonde bad built butch body, that would not be engaging in personalities, correct?” (Crockett soon filed a trademark application for the phrase “bleach blonde bad built butch body.")

The exchange went viral and soon after, Greene was the center of attention again on Capitol Hill, albeit negative coverage – Crockett, a Black woman, later called Greene a blatant “racist” for her comments on her eyelashes – but attention nonetheless. Her ability to almost always make news has prompted constant speculation on what lies in the ultraconservative’s future.

After speaker defeat, Marjorie Taylor Greene is back stirring the pot: What's next? (1)

When approached by USA TODAY about her career plans beyond 2024 on Wednesday, Greene didn't say if she was considering launching any future bids.

“Oh my goodness, what is today? Wednesday? We’re on Wednesday in May of 2024, let’s do Wednesday,” Greene responded when asked if she is considering a 2026 Senate bid to unseat Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff. “Let’s try to at least maybe pass a budget that doesn’t fund Biden’s open borders. Maybe we can defund Jack Smith.”

When asked about possibly running in the 2026 Republican primaries to replace term-limited Gov. Brian Kemp as well, Greene reiterated the elections are years away: “Dude, I’m on Wednesday. I’m trying to do Wednesday.”

Since entering the House in 2021, Greene quickly rose to prominence as a hard-right lawmaker with complete fealty to former President Donald Trump, adopting his populism and creating an identity as a conservative bomb thrower. Greene became – and remains today – one of House Republicans’ strongest fundraisers, commanding massive cash hauls every fundraising quarter. Her campaign wheeled in over six figures after she announced her intent to remove Johnson as speaker, NOTUS reported.

Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., described Greene to USA TODAY as a “queen of the internet.”

“In our district, she’s just as strong. Specifically in the south, she’s very strong and they’re gonna hate on her but she’s just gonna keep fighting. I think that’s what makes her stronger,” Burchett said.

The rapid pace of Capitol Hill where the news of the day is quickly forgotten the following day, her fundraising abilities and penchant for always making news despite failing in her effort to topple Johnson highlights her staying power. For Greene, it’s not clear whether she wants to stay in the House or is shooting for higher office.

That could be either in another Trump administration if he wins back the White House or notably, in her home state of Georgia, both a Senate seat and the governor’s seat will be up for grabs in 2026.

Back in Georgia, state Republicans have mixed views on Greene’s future.

“She would be smart to stay in the House. I think she serves some sort of purpose there, though I’m not sure if I know exactly what it is,” said Skyler Akins, executive vice president of the Atlanta Young Republicans.

Akins hometown is in Greene’s northwestern Georgia district and he described it as “very white, it’s still very conservative, it’s still very religious,” which isn’t reflective of the whole state.

The governor’s seat also might not be a good fit for Greene, who has built her reputation as a rabble rouser, since it's “a position at an executive level, like governor, would require compromise” and “she’s shown herself to be nothing but incapable of doing that,” Akins said.

Steve Brown, former Republican mayor of Peachtree City, Georgia, and a former commissioner for Fayette County, said he could easily see Greene run for governor and that he was “certain influential Georgians are discussing Greene as a possible gubernatorial candidate.”

Greene’s failed push to oust Johnson, Brown argued, was widely appreciated by “nearly half the voting population” since Greene is “someone who actually stands on her core principles, so rare in Congress ... she is still a principled star among the Trump faithful, for sure.”

And while it’s true that 2026 is still a ways away, that doesn’t mean there’s high interest in the Peach State for both seats. Rep. Rick Allen, R-Ga., expects both primaries to “be highly contested,” and added there was a “deep bench” of prospective candidates waiting in Georgia.

Whether that includes Greene, Allen declined to speculate saying “I have absolutely no idea.”

After speaker defeat, Marjorie Taylor Greene is back stirring the pot: What's next? (3)

McCormick on the other hand was more than happy to muse about Greene’s possible future and said he wouldn’t be shocked at all if he saw his fellow Georgian make a run for either Senate or the governor’s mansion in 2026.

He did note that Greene, who represents a ruby red congressional district, could have challenges in a statewide general election race, pointing to past failed candidates such as Herschel Walker for the U.S. Senate. “We’ve shown that for the last three Senate races, which were very winnable, we lost. We need to make sure we choose the most electable conservative we can find,” he said.

McCormick didn’t say whether he thought Greene was fit for a statewide race: “Anybody’s electable, but the question is: What’s your best shot?”

One of Greene’s antagonists (of which she has many) openly welcomed the idea of her seeking a more prestigious position if it meant she’s no longer the House’s problem.

“I would encourage her to run for Senate, for governor. I would encourage her to go into the Trump administration,” Rep. Max Miller, R-Ohio, told USA TODAY with a smirk on his face. “Anything that she would like to set her heart and desire on to get her out of this place would be awesome.”

After speaker defeat, Marjorie Taylor Greene is back stirring the pot: What's next? (2024)
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