Trump makes last-minute pitch to GOP voters in Georgia 6th

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor

President Trump made a last-minute pitch to voters Tuesday in the closely watched special election in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District.

“Democrat Jon Ossoff, who wants to raise your taxes to the highest level and is weak on crime and security, doesn’t even live in district,” Trump tweeted early Tuesday morning. “KAREN HANDEL FOR CONGRESS. She will fight for lower taxes, great healthcare strong security-a hard worker who will never give up! VOTE TODAY.”

Handel and Ossoff are vying for the House seat that was vacated by Tom Price, Trump’s secretary of health and human services. The special election is a hotly contested race that is seen as an early signal for the 2018 midterm elections. Georgia’s Sixth District has been occupied by Republicans since the 1970s, but Trump only narrowly won the district last year.

Related slideshow: Ossoff vs. Handel: Georgia’s special election >>>

Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff visits a campaign office to speak with volunteers and supporters on Election Day as he runs to represent Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District on June 20, 2017, in Tucker, Ga. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the combined spending for both candidates has pushed past $50 million — making it the most expensive House campaign in U.S. history.

In April on the eve of a preliminary vote, Trump disparaged Ossoff as a “super Liberal Democrat” who “wants to protect criminals, allow illegal immigration and raise taxes!”

On Monday, Trump fired off a series of tweets in support of Handel, whose name he initially misspelled.

“Karen Handle’s opponent in #GA06 can’t even vote in the district he wants to represent,” Trump tweeted before correcting himself.

On Monday night, Trump also urged voters to vote for the Republican in the under-the-radar special election in South Carolina’s Fifth District, where Democrat Archie Parnell and former GOP state Rep. Ralph Norman are vying for the seat vacated by Rep. Mick Mulvaney when he became Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Trump carried both states — and districts — in the 2016 presidential election.

A poll released last month in South Carolina had Norman with a comfortable 17-point lead over Parnell. But polls in Georgia show Ossoff and Handel in a nailbiter, with each candidate hovering around 50 percent support.

Which is one reason why the race has turned ugly.

On Monday, a state GOP official apologized for saying that the shooting at a Republican congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., last week would tilt the election in Handel’s favor.

Karen Handel, Republican candidate for Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District, talks to reporters during a campaign stop at Old Hickory House in Tucker, Ga., Monday, June 19, 2017. (Photo: David Goldman/AP)

During a get-out-the-vote rally for Handel over the weekend, Brad Carver, chairman of the Republican Party in Georgia’s 11th Congressional District, stated that “moderates and independents in this district are tired of left-wing extremism,” and “the congressional baseball shooting is going to decide the election.”

“Politics, human tragedy and violence don’t mix,” Carver said in a statement to Yahoo News. “I should not have said what I said. I apologize for my remarks.”

Carver is not alone in using the shooting to promote Handel’s candidacy. The conservative group Principled PAC released a television ad that linked liberals to the attack. Both Handel and Ossoff condemned the ad.

— With Taylor Rogers contributing reporting

(Cover tile photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images)

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