Political Insider

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Trump won't endorse yet in Georgia special election - but a top ally will

The White House said Wednesday it wouldn't yet wade into Georgia's special election, which Donald Trump's critics are trying to make an early referendum on his presidency. In fact, you can listen to Trump spokesman Sean Spicer hem and haw on the topic, thanks to this sound clip sent by WSB Radio's Jamie Dupree:

But a Trump loyalist got key support from a leader of his 2016 campaign. Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski swung through Alpharetta on Wednesday evening to back Bruce LeVell, a businessman who headed Trump's diversity coalition.

He said LeVell is someone who can "go to Washington to carry forward the change that Donald Trump brought there." Click here to watch the video.

In the 18-candidate April 18 special election, LeVell is positioning himself as Trump’s biggest ally in the race. He said he would have voted "100 percent" for the doomed GOP healthcare plan, and he tells voters of his close ties to Trump and his administration.

But he’s facing stiff competition from other pro-Trump Republicans in the race, including former Johns Creek councilman Bob Gray, whose TV ad featured him with a water pump prepared to drain a swamp.



They are taking calculated risks that tying themselves to Trump won't sink them in a ruby-red district that Trump barely won in November. Many of the other Republicans - there are 11 GOP candidates in the race - hardly mention Trump's name or stress the need for an independent check on the White House in Congress.

Lewandowski is a divisive figure in his own right. After he was fired in June 2016 as Trump's campaign manager, he took a job as a CNN commentator while continuing a role as an informal adviser to the Republican. Since then he's launched a lobbying and consulting firm that advertises his ties to the president.

Republicans are increasingly fighting over what appears to be one slot in a likely June 20 runoff between the two top vote-getters. Democrat Jon Ossoff, with a “Make Trump Furious” campaign and more than $3.5 million in contributions, seems to be consolidating support among left-leaning voters.

Many GOP analysts now see Ossoff as a shoo-in to land the most votes in the special election for the seat, which stretches from east Cobb to north DeKalb. That's prompted the 11 Republicans to sharpen their attacks on each other - and Ossoff.

Insider's note: This was ripped and expanded from the Morning Jolt.

More AJC coverage of the Sixth District race:

An 18-candidate debate shows how jumbled Georgia special election is

Staff raids and social media hijinks: GOP infighting ramps up in Georgia Sixth

Republicans, Democrats target Ossoff in Georgia special election

How outside forces play an outsized role in Georgia’s 6th District race

House GOP health care plan divides Sixth District candidates

Jon Ossoff rattles conservatives in race for Georgia’s Sixth


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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.