Republican candidates are going after each other, with some arguing over who can most sound like President Donald Trump in the week ahead of the special election primary in Georgia’s 6th District.
Karen Handel, widely seen as the GOP front-runner, is the target of a six-figure ad buy by the conservative Club for Growth Action, which backs rival Bob Gray. The ad tags the former Georgia secretary of state as “a big-spending, career politician we can’t trust with our money.”
While Handel has tried to focus on Democrat Jon Ossoff, who leads in polls and in fundraising, in her latest ad, she hits back at her GOP rivals, saying, “The other guys in this race want to play games.”
Other Republicans are trying to borrow from Trump’s vocabulary to prove they’re aligned with the president.
An ad from Gray last month featured him wearing hip waders, literally draining a swamp, a phrase Trump repeated often during the presidential campaign.
The business executive says he would be a “willing partner” for Trump, The Associated Press reported, but he has been criticized by rivals who say he supported Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in last year’s Republican presidential primaries.
GOP candidate Bruce LeVell called Gray “Lyin’ Bob,” a play on “Lyin’ Ted,” Trump’s nickname for primary opponent Sen. Ted Cruz.
“There’s no one in this race that has a relationship with the president like Bruce LeVell,” he said. LeVell ran Trump’s national diversity coaltion
Ossoff has a significant fundraising advantage — he raised $8.3 million, most of it from out of state — and has a big lead in polls over the split Republican field. Democrats think the district is competitive because Trump only carried it by 1 point last fall.
All 18 candidates will be on the April 18 ballot in the race to replace former Rep. Tom Price, now Trump’s secretary of Health and Human Services. If no candidate clears at least 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, will advance to a June 20 runoff.