DeAnna Harris: Republican candidate, controversial Instagrammer, and felon

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DeAnna Harris

Republican candidate for Georgia State House District 41 DeAnna Harris made headlines for the wrong reasons in August, when investigative reporter Jonathan Carlson from Atlanta’s CBS46 produced a record of felonies she had committed in Florida.

This week News Growl also found Instagram posts on the candidate’s campaign account apparently endorsing some extremely controversial statements (controversial for a Republican, at least). Since being approached by News Growl, Harris has tried to erase evidence of the posts.

DeAnna Harris: owning the nightmare

Linked to DeAnna Harris’ official campaign website is the Instagram account @deeownsthedream. It was opened in 2012 and is an extremely active account with (until recently) several thousand posts.

Begun as a personal account, it was perhaps an unusual decision to use @deeownsthedream for her campaign. But not unknown. Accounts with large numbers of followers, such as Harris’, can be a very valuable asset in any race.

What is very unusual about Harris’ account (until recently) was the large number of posts that seem to contradict widely-held Republican values. We emailed Harris late yesterday with examples of the posts we thought most surprising.

She did not reply to our email. Each post we referred to (along with hundreds of others) was deleted from Harris’ account overnight.

Fortunately, we have screenshots.

Five surprising Instagram posts for a Republican

DeAnna Harris Instagram post
1. On March 25, 2017, DeAnna Harris posted this warning to “black people” to beware of a “sex trafficking/organ harvesting kidnapping craze.” Harris says “#GETOUT #SOS.” While the overall message of the post is an unusual one for a Republican candidate to espouse, the pro-Second Amendment messaging at least is entirely orthodox.

 

DeAnna Harris Instagram post

2. This post from Harris’ account was made on March 3rd, 2017, and promotes the “Day Without Women” strike organized by the Women’s March. According to a Vox,com explainer, the protest (held on International Women’s Day) was for women across the world to strike against President Trump and the social injustices that helped him rise to power.

 

DeAnna Harris Instagram post

3. In this post from July 2016, Harris shared a message calling for a week of boycotts at various Atlanta area establishments. The only exception is for black owned businesses. She comments, “Just a reminder!!!!!” and “#keepyourmoneyinyourpocket.”

 

This June 25th, 2015 post promoted an event marking the twentieth anniversary of the Million Man March in Washington, DC. The event was hosted by the Rev. Louis Farrakhan, and was entitled “JUSTICE….OR ELSE!”  Harris’ comment is “Spread the word. #JusticeorElse.” In 2016, Farrakhan said, “If Donald Trump becomes president, he will take America into the abyss of hell.” Two years later he softened on his views of the President when he said in an March 2018 interview that Trump was inadvertently destroying the enemies of the Nation of Islam (i.e. the US Department of Justice and the FBI).

 

5. Perhaps the most cryptic of all of DeAnne Harris’ social media content, the image in this February 2015 post said, “Women are there to attract men to have sex, to have children and to procreate the race.”

News Growl has yet to source the origin of this saying, or even its intended context. Harris’s comment is, “#RealShit.”

Three other Instgram posts from Harris’ account show memes that “fat shame” overweight women. In the interests of the apparently real women portrayed, News Growl has decided not to share these images.

What does it all mean?

Although these Instagram posts show that Harris has been politically active and taking public stands on several social issues for years, it is hard to reconcile the relatively extreme content of her posts with her current position as a Republican candidate for the Georgia House of Representatives.

Harris has deleted the posts shown in this article (and many more) since our email to her. She did not, however, remove all online traces of the posts. Some of these posts were at the time shared onto her Twitter account. As of publication, Harris has yet to delete these tweets.

For example, the tweet which accompanied the first Instagram post above is still live:

(In the unlikely event that this tweet is deleted, a record of it can also be found here)

Likewise, the post call to fellow women to resist President Trump was also shared via this tweet:


(Permanent record of the tweet found here)

There is also this most un-Republican-sounding tweet of an Instagram post that is now sadly lost to history.


(Archived here)

Besides asking Harris for comment, we also reached out to the Georgia Republican Party, and the Cobb County Republican Party, but as of publication have received no reply from either organization.

Harris’ past Instagram posts are not the only part of her history that is unusual for a Republican candidate, however.

What happens in Florida does not stay in Florida

On August 8th, Jonathan Carlson from Atlanta’s CBS46 obtained records showing that DeAnna Harris had been arrested twice while living in Florida: once in 2009 for bank fraud, and again in 2012 for failing to pay restitution.

Carlson’s reporting corresponds with information from other publicly available sources, including this website that includes a mug shot, and mentions a warrant for one DeAnna Harris’ arrest as an “ABSCONDER/FUGITIVE.”

When filing as a candidate for office, Harris signed a document that said she had never committed a felony “involving moral terpitude” in any state, or that if she had that her “civil rights have been restored and at least ten years have passed” without another felony.

(full document available here)

The day after Carlson’s original report, Harris told CBS46 that Georgia law did not prevent her from seeking public office if she had entered no contest pleas, which she claims to have done. The station’s legal team disagreed, saying the statute Harris refers may only apply to felonies committed in Georgia:

“The Georgia statute the candidate is referring to only applies to no contest pleas that are accepted by Georgia judges, in Georgia courts, involving Georgia crimes. In other words, it just doesn’t apply to her plea made in a Florida court, to a Florida judge, on a Florida crime.”

Following Carlson’s reporting, the office of the Georgia Secretary of State began an investigation into her eligibility for office. For now at least, Harris’ campaign appears to still be in full swing. She remains listed as a qualified candidate on the Secretary of State website. The Cobb County Republican Party even held a fundraiser in her honor on August 30th.

DeAnna Harris may be part of a growing trend of former felons taking a more active role in public service.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy this week praised the hiring of a convicted felon by his state’s Department of Education. And US Representative Chris Collins of New York remains on the ballot this November despite a charge of felony insider trading hanging over him.

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