Trump at­tempts to dent Demo­crat Os­soff in crowded Ge­or­gia con­test

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY SALLY PER­SONS David Sherfin­ski and Seth McLaugh­lin con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle.

Pres­i­dent Trump has raised the stakes in Ge­or­gia’s spe­cial con­gres­sional elec­tion this week, blast­ing press cov­er­age of the race and telling vot­ers the lead­ing Demo­cratic can­di­date is soft on crime and il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion.

The elec­tion Tues­day is the lat­est in a se­ries of races to fill empty House seats — con­tests that have quickly turned into early ref­er­en­dums on Mr. Trump’s three months in of­fice.

De­spite a large field of nearly 20 can­di­dates, Democrats have ral­lied around Jon Os­soff, hop­ing to push him above 50 per­cent of the vote on Tues­day, which would al­low him to avert a runoff and send the for­mer con­gres­sional aide straight to Capi­tol Hill — giv­ing lib­er­als an elec­tion vic­tory that could be­gin to cleanse Demo­cratic palates of 2016 losses.

“A Repub­li­can loss here would send a bit­ter re­buke to the en­tire Repub­li­can Party that Amer­i­cans across the coun­try do not sup­port their rad­i­cal, an­ti­worker agenda,” Kait Sweeney, Pro­gres­sive Change Cam­paign Com­mit­tee press sec­re­tary, said in a state­ment Mon­day.

Repub­li­cans, mean­while, are hop­ing to keep Mr. Os­soff be­low 50 per­cent, which would send the race to a twop­er­son runoff where they’re con­fi­dent their can­di­date could tri­umph. The most likely Repub­li­can to emerge from Tues­day would be for­mer Ge­or­gia Sec­re­tary of State Karen Han­del.

The GOP sur­vived one test last week in Kansas, where a deep-red district elected a Repub­li­can to another va­cant seat, al­beit by just a 7-point mar­gin. Mr. Trump won the district by 27 per­cent­age points last year.

Over the week­end, the pres­i­dent chided re­porters for their cov­er­age, say­ing the press built the Kansas elec­tion up as “a re­ally big me­dia event, un­til the Repub­li­cans won.”

He said the press was now shift­ing its at­ten­tion to the race for Ge­or­gia’s 6th District, which in­cludes the north­ern, af­flu­ent sub­urbs of At­lanta.

One prob­lem for Repub­li­cans is that Tues­day’s elec­tion is a “jun­gle pri­mary.” There are many GOP can­di­dates in the wide-open race, and na­tional party lead­ers didn’t want to be seen pick­ing a fa­vorite this early.

In­stead, Mr. Trump tried to dent Mr. Os­soff on Mon­day, say­ing on Twit­ter that he “wants to pro­tect crim­i­nals, al­low il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion and raise taxes.”

Turnout has been a big con­cern for Democrats in Ge­or­gia.

At­lanta Demo­cratic Mayor Kasim Reed said Mon­day on MSNBC that he felt the race was “within our reach,” adding, “I think the 6th wants to send a mes­sage to Pres­i­dent Trump that he has gone too far.”

Mr. Reed also said that he be­lieved Mr. Os­soff is “much bet­ter po­si­tioned” than the Demo­cratic can­di­date was in Kansas.

But the Demo­cratic Con­gres­sional Cam­paign Com­mit­tee said in an email to sup­port­ers Mon­day that things could be turn­ing sour.

“Break­ing: Ge­or­gia Democrats’ early vote lead PLUNGES,” the com­mit­tee claimed in an email, say­ing that the GOP had its best day of early turnout last Fri­day.

Rep. Tom Cole, an Ok­la­homa Repub­li­can and for­mer chair­man of the House GOP’s cam­paign com­mit­tee, said Democrats are more united in the Ge­or­gia race, but said Mr. Os­soff would strug­gle to win a runoff where the GOP would be able to unite be­hind a sin­gle can­di­date.

“I think we hold him un­der 50 and win it in June,” Mr. Cole said on MSNBC Mon­day.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Pres­i­dent Trump took to Twit­ter to at­tack Jon Os­soff, the lead­ing Demo­cratic can­di­date for a spe­cial elec­tion in Ge­or­gia, call­ing Mr. Os­soff soft on crime and im­mi­gra­tion.

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