Political Insider

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Karen Handel slams opponent for Hillary Clinton ties


U.S. Rep. Karen Handel on Monday went on the offensive against Democratic challenger Lucy McBath, knocking the gun control advocate and former flight attendant for accepting campaign donations from an organization linked to Hillary Clinton. 

Handel, R-Roswell, sent out a fundraising email to supporters asking them to pitch in to “defeat Hillary Clinton, Pelosi and their deep-pocketed liberal allies again.” 

“The same woman that so kindly referred to us all as ‘deplorables’ is now generously funding my opponent’s campaign – even hosting a top-secret fundraiser for her in Manhattan,” Handel wrote. 

Clinton has worked quietly for months to boost McBath’s bid to unseat Handel in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, which includes portions of Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties. 

The 2016 presidential candidate recorded a robocall on McBath’s behalf in July and congratulated her on Twitter after her Democratic runoff win. Clinton also held a fundraiser for McBath in New York last month, according to NBC News, and her political organization Onward Together donated the maximum $5,000 to McBath’s campaign. 

The two have a relationship that goes back several years. McBath stumped for the former secretary of state in 2016, including at the Democratic National Convention with other mothers who lost children to gun violence.

Despite that, the McBath campaign has been hush-hush about Clinton’s recent campaign aid, somewhat surprising given the onetime first lady’s popularity among Georgia Democrats. 

A spokesman for McBath’s campaign said Handel was “using an outdated playbook to distract from her failure to act on issues that matter most to families in this district.” 

"Karen Handel has done nothing to expand access to healthcare for families - and she has not made our kids any safer from gun violence," the spokesman said. "Instead of making personal attacks we hope that Karen Handel will take action on issues that matter most to the people of this district."

In last year’s special election, Handel frequently used national Democratic figures such as Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama to rev up her own supporters. She recently hinted she would revive that strategy as she runs for a second term in the House this year. 

“The liberal Democrats put everything they had into beating me last cycle. It didn’t work,” Handel wrote in her Monday fundraising plea. “I have no doubt that we can do it again, but I need your support RIGHT NOW – before it’s too late.” 

In 2016, Clinton lost to Donald Trump by less than 2 percentage points in the typically ruby red 6th District.

Read more: 

Handel unveils unconventional first ad

A ‘battle-tested’ Handel aims for another 6th District win

House Dems ramp up investment in 6th District race

Bourdeaux, McBath win Democratic nominations for U.S. House seats

Runoff wins boost female presence on Georgia’s ballot in November

Handel beefs up war chest as challengers focus on runoff


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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.