Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

In the final week, Karen Handel becomes a target for GOP rivals

In the final week of a congressional contest that has drawn national attention, the knives are out. Not for the surprisingly well-funded Democrat in the special election, but for Republican Karen Handel.

With Democrat Jon Ossoff a solid bet for one berth in a June 20 runoff, that leaves only one (again, probable) spot for a Republican. And most polling has shown Handel, the former secretary of state, leading the 12 Republicans in the 18-candidate Sixth District contest.

One of her top GOP adversaries, former state senator Dan Moody, on Tuesday unleashed a searing new TV ad that highlight's Handel's electoral track record:


When a female candidate is skewered, it's always worthwhile to have a female narrator. From the script:

"Here she comes again. Over the last 15 years, Karen Handel has run six times for five different offices. She usually loses, and she didn't even finish the jobs we did give her. Always running for the next office, with higher pay or a nice new Lexus on the taxpayer dime. Karen Handel isn't running for you. She's running for herself."

The Lexus? That's a reference to a set of wheels she had while secretary of state. Perdue used that against her in the U.S. Senate race. Her campaign said it was not a lease and that she owned it before she won statewide office.

Moody isn't the only one attacking the presumed Republican frontrunner. In the wee hours on Tuesday, Bob Gray also got in on the action by Tweeting out a digital (and somewhat low-production) video that super-imposes Handel's head next to a wind-surfing John Kerry. It's one of the strangest we've seen this cycle:



Fulton County Commissioner Liz Hausmann has chosen a side in the Sixth District congressional contest. She’s backing Dan Moody, the former state senator.


Democrat Jon Ossoff has picked up some back-up. The Working Families Party endorsed him Wednesday in the Sixth District race.


If you’re the Georgia Hospital Association, whose membership has become more and more dependent on the largess of a Republican-controlled state Legislature, the last thing you want to see is your logo embedded in a Moveon.org video supporting Jon Ossoff:


And thus we have a press release which includes the following:

 “The Georgia Hospital Association denounces the online advertisement from MoveOn.org and its unauthorized use of the GHA logo, a fact that is being communicated to that organization along with a formal request to remove our logo from the ad,” said GHA President and CEO Earl Rogers.


“The MoveOn.org ad implies that GHA is aligned with the Ossoff for Congress Campaign in opposition to the AHCA, an assertion that has been furthered by other online media sources. Although we are interested in the outcome of the special election, GHA has not endorsed a candidate in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District race.”

Is that clear?


A gun control group is ratcheting up the pressure on Gov. Nathan Deal to veto the "campus carry" legislation with a TV ad that reminds him of his 2016 veto of a similar bill.

Everytown for Gun Safety is pumping $60,000 into an ad urging Deal to nix House Bill 280, which would legalize firearms on most parts of college campuses.

“This is still a dangerous bill and just like last year, it has failed to earn the support of university faculty or student government organizations in our state,” said Lindsey Donovan, who heads the Georgia chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Take a look below:



At a Buckhead mayoral forum, councilman Kwanza Hall raised some eyebrows with an answer to a question about global warming.

Calling himself "kind of bit a conspiracy theorist," he said Tuesday he's skeptical of climate change.

"I got a question mark on the global warming thing," he said. "I do believe in sustainability. I'm a science-minded person and I have a science background. But stuff is in the media too much ... it's hard for me to be convinced some times."

Hall, one of about a dozen contenders seeking to succeed a term-limited Kasim Reed as mayor of Atlanta, went on to talk about the importance of conservation and a vibrant tree canopy in the city.


We have yet to learn what their visit is about, but the public schedule for Betsy DeVos, the new U.S. secretary of education, shows that she has an 11:30 a.m. sit-down in D.C. with state Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, and Steve Wrigley, chancellor of Georgia’s university system. No press witnesses will be permitted.



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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.