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