Trump Could Help And Hurt GOP In 6th District Runoff

Republican candidate Karen Handel will face Democrat Jon Ossoff in a runoff.
Credit Al Such and Kaitlin Kolarik / WABE
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President Trump is weighing in on the 6th Congressional District race. And that could have mixed results for the Republican candidate.

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In a tweet, the president congratulated Republican Karen Handel for making it into a runoff with Democrat Jon Ossoff.

Handel, also on Twitter, thanked the president for calling her this morning.

Trump’s attention could be both good and bad for Handel, according to University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock.

Handel does need the president’s backing, Bullock said. That will energize Trump’s supporters to turn out to vote for her in June.

But, he added, “There’s a real risk if Karen Handel too closely embraces Donald Trump that it will, in a sense, play into Ossoff’s hand.”

Ossoff has crafted his campaign around resisting Trump.

The president barely carried the district last year. And Bullock said there may be voters who buy into the idea that a vote against Handel is a vote against Trump.

Ossoff earned 48 percent of the vote in Tuesday night’s election. Handel, the leading republican, came away with nearly 20 percent.

The two will face each other in a runoff this June.