GOP candidate walks back racially-charged Tweet; Dem opponent sends sympathetic note

Social media comment shared by Karen Handel's husband described as racially-charged

ATLANTA -- In a campaign between an experience, middle-age pol and a millennial newcomer, a Twitter miscue got walked back by both sides. 

When Democrats in Georgia do get elected, they very frequently do so with the help of large numbers of African American voters.

When a supporter produced a graphic urging minority voters to join Republican Karen Handel’s campaign, part of the text said: “free the black slaves from the Democratic Party plantation.” The tweet caught the attention of Steve Handel, the candidate’s husband. He retweeted it, then deleted the tweet from his feed.

Handel, a former Georgia Secretary of State, is locked in a tight and very expensive race with Democratic newcomer Jon Ossoff to win a special election in the sixth congressional district.  Handel's campaign refuted the tweet, saying Steve Handel “made a mistake and retweeted something he didn’t pay a lot of attention to, thinking it was just an absentee vote message. It clearly was not appropriate and has been deleted."

Follow 11Alive's extensive 6th district election coverage here.

Handel was in Washington Wednesday and unavailable for comment.

"As a candidate I try to stay off of Twitter," said Ossoff Wednesday. He was at a campaign event at the state Capitol, and sounded a sympathetic note to his opponent.

"I think we need a civil and mature discourse of the issues. Sometimes social media can lead us down the wrong track," Ossoff said, declining to criticize Handel.  Ossoff has a presence on Twitter. His feed indicates that he posts irregularly. 

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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