ATLANTA -- President Donald Trump is likely to loom large in the 6th district congressional runoff as candidates Jon Ossoff and Karen Handel look toward the June 20 showdown.
Democrat Jon Ossoff nearly won Tuesday night’s special election outright thanks largely to voters angry over the presidency of Donald Trump.
Republican Karen Handel has kept her distance from Trump. She didn’t mention him at all in remarks to the crowd at her runoff celebration Monday night. But this week, Trump has sent a series of tweets critical of Democrat Ossoff.
Despite major outside money, FAKE media support and eleven Republican candidates, BIG "R" win with runoff in Georgia. Glad to be of help!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 19, 2017
Just learned that Jon @Ossoff, who is running for Congress in Georgia, doesn't even live in the district. Republicans, get out and vote!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2017
Trump apparently called Handel Wednesday morning to congratulate her, according to a muted tweet she sent out. What’s clear is that Trump wants to help Handel win the race, even if Handel tries to keep him at a distance.
"I think she will embrace Trump. Partly because I think he will insist on it," said Dr. Kerwin Swint of Kennesaw State University. "He's going to weigh in on this race. He’s going to be very present. And he’s going to be hard to stay away from."
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Having Trump in the race would likely be welcomed by Democrats, who have energized volunteers on behalf of Ossoff because of their disdain for the president.
Swint predicts a "dogfight" during the eight-week runoff, with both parties pouring millions of dollars into the race.