The Trump Balancing Act

Trump is headed to an Atlanta-area district he barely won.

Republican candidate for Georgia's Sixth Congressional seat Karen Handel steps to the podium to update supporters on early results at an election night watch party in Roswell, Ga., Tuesday, April 18, 2017. Republicans are bidding to prevent a major upset in a conservative Georgia congressional district Tuesday where Democrats stoked by opposition to President Donald Trump have rallied behind a candidate who has raised a shocking amount of money for a special election.
AP Photo/David Goldman
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Kyle Trygstad
April 26, 2017, 10:42 a.m.

Kar­en Han­del is the latest in a long line of con­gres­sion­al can­did­ates that have sought to cap­it­al­ize on a pres­id­ent’s star power without get­ting dragged down by his un­pop­ular­ity.

It happened with Barack Obama and George W. Bush, who helped raise money in the last three midterms but rarely strayed from friendly ter­rit­ory, and it’s already a real­ity less than 100 days in­to Don­ald Trump’s pres­id­ency.

The Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate re­vealed she raised more than $1 mil­lion in the week after the April 18 primary in Geor­gia’s 6th Dis­trict, and that num­ber will un­doubtedly grow sub­stan­tially Fri­day when Trump head­lines a private fun­draiser for her in At­lanta.

Han­del topped sev­er­al can­did­ates in the primary who tied them­selves much closer to the pres­id­ent than she did. So Trump’s vis­it should help Han­del co­alesce sup­port and mo­bil­ize the base on June 20, which may be enough to win in this Re­pub­lic­an-lean­ing dis­trict.

But if Demo­crats—in an ef­fort to de­press the GOP vote, per­suade mod­er­ate Re­pub­lic­ans to back Jon Os­soff, or simply mo­tiv­ate their own voters—were look­ing for an ob­vi­ous way to at­tach Han­del to the pres­id­ent in a sub­urb­an, af­flu­ent dis­trict in which Trump severely un­der­per­formed Mitt Rom­ney, this is it.

Kyle Tryg­stad


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