Ge­or­gia Demo­crat Os­soff tries to sever ties with Pelosi.

GOP links Os­soff to un­pop­u­lar Cal­i­for­nian

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY SETH MCLAUGHLIN

ROSWELL, GA. | House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi is not on the bal­lot in the runoff race Tues­day for Ge­or­gia’s open con­gres­sional seat, but Repub­li­cans are push­ing to make sure the Cal­i­for­nia Demo­crat is on vot­ers’ minds when they go to the polls.

On the stump, in fly­ers and in a bar­rage of ra­dio and tele­vi­sion ads, GOP can­di­date Karen Han­del and her al­lies have ham­mered home the mes­sage that Demo­crat Jon Os­soff will carry Mrs. Pelosi’s wa­ter in Congress, as they look to ex­cite their party’s base and raise doubts about Mr. Os­soff’s pledge to be an in­de­pen­dent voice.

Mrs. Han­del says her sup­port­ers will have the chance Tues­day “to rock Nancy Pelosi’s world.”

“This strat­egy for this cam­paign has al­ways been about who is the best right fit for the peo­ple of this dis­trict and the peo­ple of this dis­trict are not from a views and val­ues stand­point aligned with Nancy Pelosi,” Mrs. Han­del told re­porters Mon­day dur­ing a cam­paign swing through a down-home diner in sub­ur­ban At­lanta.

Mr. Os­soff coun­tered that her strat­egy is part of the “tired” par­ti­san play­book vot­ers are sick of.

“Vot­ers here are fo­cused on what a can­di­date of­fers to do to im­prove their qual­ity of life, and they want some fresh lead­er­ship,” he said. “They want re­sults rather than more par­ti­san pol­i­tics.”

Mr. Os­soff has cast him­self as a cen­trist in the race and is try­ing to try­ing to flip con­trol of a seat that Repub­li­cans have held since Newt Gin­grich took hold of it in 1979. The seat opened up af­ter Rep. Tom Price was tapped as Mr. Trump’s health sec­re­tary.

Mrs. Pelosi is no stranger to be­ing the fo­cus of con­gres­sional races af­ter 15 years lead­ing House Democrats. She stamped out a brief re­bel­lion ear­lier this year to win re-elec­tion to her leader’s post.

She re­mains one of the na­tion’s most rec­og­niz­able and po­lar­iz­ing po­lit­i­cal fig­ures — an NBC/ Wall Street Jour­nal poll re­leased in Fe­bru­ary showed she is the least pop­u­lar politi­cian in the United States — and in par­tic­u­lar in GOP-lean­ing dis­tricts like Ge­or­gia’s 6th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict.

An At­lanta Jour­nal Con­sti­tu­tion poll re­leased in June showed that close to six in 10 vot­ers held a neg­a­tive view of her in the dis­trict.

Mrs. Pelosi has helped raise money for Mr. Os­soff’s bid, but has not cam­paigned with the 30-yearold for­mer con­gres­sional aid.

Corry Bliss, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Con­gres­sional Lead­er­ship Fund, which has in­vested mil­lions into ra­dio and tele­vi­sion ads in Ge­or­gia cast­ing Mr. Os­soff as a tool for Mrs. Pelosi, called her “the gift that keeps giv­ing.”

“Every morn­ing I wake up and I take a mo­ment to be thank­ful that the Re­pub­li­can Party still has Nancy Pelosi be­cause Nancy Pelosi is ab­so­lutely toxic,” Mr. Bliss told the Times, whose su­per PAC has in­vested $7 mil­lion in the race and was a ma­jor player in help­ing Re­pub­li­can de­fend an at-large seat in Mon­tana last month. “This race is a ref­er­en­dum on Nancy Pelosi and her lib­eral pol­icy agenda, which is just fun­da­men­tally out of touch with a vast ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans, as we saw that in Mon­tana.”

Repub­li­cans’ at­tack is boosted by Mr. Os­soff’s sit­u­a­tion. He doesn’t live in the dis­trict, and his chief gov­ern­ment ex­pe­ri­ence was as a staffer on Capi­tol Hill.

The Prin­ci­pled Lead­er­ship Project PAC, a North Carolina-based group, ratch­eted up the Pelosi line of at­tack on Mon­day when it ran a tele­vi­sion ad con­nect­ing the pol­i­tics of Mr. Os­soff and Mrs. Pelosi to the at­tack on Re­pub­li­can con­gress­men prac­tic­ing base­ball last week.

“The same un­hinged left­ists cheer­ing last week’s shoot­ing are all back­ing Jon Os­soff,” the nar­ra­tor

says. “Stop Jon Os­soff. Stop Nancy Pelosi. Vote Karen Han­del for Congress.”

Mrs. Han­del came out against the ad, say­ing us­ing the shoot­ing for po­lit­i­cal gain is “dis­gust­ing” and call­ing for it to be pulled off the air­waves.

Some vot­ers said Mr. Os­soff has been hurt by the Pelosi at­tacks.

“I think it has been ef­fec­tive,” said Karen Tausche. “He has been call­ing him­self an in­de­pen­dent, but he is not an in­de­pen­dent, he is backed by the Democrats and I think that is how he is go­ing to vote.”

But Bryan Stokes, a Demo­cratic voter in the dis­trict who turned out for a re­cent Os­soff rally, said he thinks that vot­ers “that would be scared away by the Pelosi mes­sage wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily vote for Jon any­way.”

“Try­ing to fuse Nancy Pelosi to Jon will ul­ti­mately fail be­cause they are to­tally dif­fer­ent peo­ple,” Mr. Stokes said. “Jon hasn’t held po­lit­i­cal of­fice yet, he is not com­ing from a back­ground where has been in Wash­ing­ton for years. So I think the two of them kind of dif­fer in that re­spect and, ul­ti­mately, I think it will fail.”


Re­pub­li­can can­di­date for 6th con­gres­sional dis­trict Karen Han­del greets din­ers dur­ing a cam­paign stop at Old Hick­ory House in Tucker, Ge­or­gia, on Mon­day. The race be­tween Han­del and Demo­crat Jon Os­soff is seen as a sig­nif­i­cant po­lit­i­cal test for the new Trump Ad­min­is­tra­tion. The dis­trict tra­di­tion­ally goes Re­pub­li­can.



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