President Donald Trump weighed in on Georgia's special election for the second time in two days, referring to Jon Ossoff as a "super Liberal Democrat" who could threaten the GOP agenda.
Without mentioning Ossoff by name, Trump said the candidate wants to "protect criminals, allow illegal immigration and raise taxes." Ossoff's vows to "stand up to Donald Trump" have helped him become a rising Democratic star, though on the campaign trail he largely sticks to more moderate rhetoric that includes promises to cut wasteful spending.
Trump said in a Sunday tweet that last week's special election in Kansas was a "really big media event" until a Republican won the contest. "Now they play the same game with Georgia-BAD!"
Ossoff raised an unprecedented $8.3 million haul and has flooded the district with advertisements and volunteers. He's leading the polls in the 18-candidate field - all the contenders will share the same ballot regardless of party - but they show him short of the majority-vote he needs to avoid a June 20 runoff.
Republicans have held Georgia's 6th District, which spans from east Cobb to north DeKalb, for decades and Rep. Tom Price won landslide victories every two years until he was tapped as Trump's health secretary. But the president struggled in the district, winning it by less than 2 points, and Democrats hope Ossoff can deal Trump's presidency a stinging electoral defeat.
In a statement, Ossoff said Trump's tweet was "misinformed."
"While I'm glad the president is interested in the race, he is misinformed," he said. "I'm focused on bringing fresh leadership, accountability, and bipartisan problem solving to Washington to cut wasteful spending and grow metro Atlanta's economy into the Silicon Valley of the South."
The Democrat has called for an "aggressive simplification" of the tax code and an immigration package that provides a path to legal status for those in the country illegally without felony records. He said he wants to more vigorously pursue international criminal gangs.
The White House is said to be closely monitoring the wild race, though the two tweets he sent on Sunday and Monday are the first time the president has publicly weighed in on it. Trump may have a chance to do so again: He is set to headline a National Rifle Association rally on April 28 in Atlanta.
The Democrat is trying to change the electorate by boosting turnout among millennials and women in the district. But Republicans are growing more confident they have the votes to thwart him.
More recent AJC coverage of the Sixth District:
Here are the tweets: