Your Daily Jolt: Nathan Deal stumps for Karen Handel


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A campaign van for Jon Ossoff passes by a sandwich shop in Dunwoody last week, minutes after Karen Handel greeted supporters there. Both are candidates in the Sixth District runoff election. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

On the penultimate day of a Sixth District congressional runoff that has seen $50 million spent by both sides, Gov. Nathan Deal will make his first in-person appeal in support of Republican Karen Handel.

Former congressman Tom Price and former Gov. Sonny Perdue turned out Saturday for Handel. Deal endorsed the former secretary of state shortly after the first round of voting on April 18, but has yet to stump for her.

Today’s 6 p.m. Roswell event will also feature first lady Sandra Deal, and the longtime metro Atlanta singing duo, Banks & Shane.

The locale won’t be the exactly same, but the rally harkens back to the 2014 campaign for governor, when a last Deal gathering turned into a wake for a Mack Burgess, a young Deal staffer who died in a car wreck. He was the son of Banks Burgess — the singer mentioned above.

Here’s what we wrote then.

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A head-turning quote in today’s Washington Post came from Brad Carver, the lobbyist and chair of Georgia’s 11th GOP District. He was asked about the impact of last week’s ambush of a Republican congressional baseball practice on Tuesday’s Sixth District vote, and he didn’t hold back. From the Post:

“I’ll tell you what: I think the shooting is going to win this election for us,” Carver said. “Because moderates and independents in this district are tired of left-wing extremism. I get that there’s extremists on both sides, but we are not seeing them. We’re seeing absolute resistance to everything this president does. Moderates and independents out there want to give him a chance. Democrats have never given this president a chance.”

This morning, in a conversation with one of your insiders, Carver elaborated — and emphasized he wasn’t attempting to take advantage of the tragedy.  “I wasn’t trying to tie the Ossoff campaign to this violence,” said Carver. “I don’t see any silver linings in the shootings – it’s an awful, awful thing. I was just giving my honest unvarnished assessment of the race, and I do think it has an impact in the race.”

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Another day, another shenanigan in Georgia’s 6th District race. We told you Sunday about the controversial spot that attempt to tie Democrat Jon Ossoff to the shooting of U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise. Now comes this from CNN:

Great America Alliance, a pro-Trump non-profit group that previously ran ads attacking former FBI director James Comey during his testimony, is running an ad that quotes Obama narrating his autobiographical book “Dreams From My Father.” The ad, however, does not mention that in the selected passage, Obama is actually quoting someone else who is speaking about the black community and Chicago politics before the early 1980s.

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We chatted the other day with David Wasserman, who follows House races for the nonpartisan election analysis group the Cook Political Report. He highlighted two statistics that are very much shaping the Sixth District race and are worth repeating here.

First, the portions of Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties that comprise the Sixth have the highest percentage of voters with a college education than any other Republican-held seat in the country. That helps explain in part why Donald Trump fared so poorly in November and why Democrats see an opening.

Second, there are 26 U.S. House districts where Hillary Clinton got a higher share of the vote in November than in the Georgia Sixth (Trump edged her out by less than 2 percentage points here) but lost to Trump. Particularly if Jon Ossoff wins tomorrow, Democrats will zero in on those two-dozen-plus districts in 2018. And remember, they need 24 more seats to capture control of the House.

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Democrat Jon Ossoff sent an appeal through MoveOn — the advocacy group that helped elect Barack Obama — to thousands of its donors for some last-minute cash. He wrote that his campaign is “just three days from making history.” Here:

Here’s the thing: Donald Trump and Paul Ryan see our momentum too. They’re doing everything they can to crush our campaign.

 

I need your help more than ever. I am proud to have earned MoveOn’s endorsement through a vote of MoveOn members in Georgia’s 6th District, and MoveOn members like you have helped power our campaign from the beginning. But right-wing Super PACs have made this the most expensive House race in history. We are TIED in the polls. And, with your help in these final days, we could win!

If you believe that NOW is the time to take on corruption and fraud and a system in Washington rigged for those with lobbyists and PACs and to fight back against “alternative facts” with the truth, then you can help make that happen by helping me give the people of Georgia’s 6th District the sort of representation they want and deserve then we need to give it our all in the next three days. If we don’t, we’ll regret it forever.

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Politicians are people, too. And they’re just as fed-up with the relentless barrage of TV ads in the 6th District as everyone else in metro Atlanta who has ventured near a screen in the last five months.

State Rep. Scott Holcomb, an Atlanta Democrat and supporter of Jon Ossoff, said his friends and neighbors are still getting deluged with calls even after they voted ahead of Tuesday’s runoff.

“I understand that the campaigns have volunteers who want to help, but there’s a point of diminishing returns,” he said. “And even worse, there’s a risk of turning off supporters who are annoyed that their requests are being ignored.”

He echoes many political analysts that both campaigns are squandering some of their money with the all-out ad blitz: “Consultants are undoubtedly screaming to the campaigns that they have to do this. If you have money, spend it. More is better. I’m not sure that’s right.”

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Yes, we’re fully aware that we aren’t done yet with this little congressional race in the Sixth District, but more candidates are beginning to line up for a 2018 contest next door in the Seventh.

Political organizer Kathleen Allen is planning to announce her bid to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall as a Democrat in Georgia’s Seventh District. She’ll formally launch her campaign at an event in Norcross on Thursday.

Allen’s background is in health care, but she said she’s planning to traverse the Gwinnett and Forsyth-based Seventh District on a listening tour in order to hear what voters want in a candidate.

Allen joins test prep company owner David Kim on the Democratic side of the race, and we’re expecting several others to jump in soon. National Democrats see the Georgia Seventh as part of their new suburban frontier given Jon Ossoff’s competitiveness in the 6th.

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While the rest of us are twiddling our thumbs, waiting for the counting of ballots to begin on Tuesday, former Georgia governor and current Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue will be in Savannah, doing a port walk-through with his counterparts from Canada and Mexico. The trilateral gathering is important, considering that NAFTA re-negotiations are likely to begin later next year. Certainly, they won’t be talking just about container ships.

 


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