Jim Barksdale looks to capitalize off voter outrage over Donald Trump’s treatment of women

Democratic Senate candidate Jim Barksdale at an immigration roundtable last week. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
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Democratic Senate candidate Jim Barksdale at an immigration roundtable last week. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Democrat Jim Barksdale is grasping onto U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s continued support of Donald Trump in the final weeks of the campaign as he looks to capitalize off voter outrage over the GOP nominee’s treatment of women.

The Democrat, who is looking to close a substantial gap in the polls, constantly hits Isakson on the issue in press releases and Twitter posts. Barksdale’s campaign website now prominently features a clock counting up the days that Trump has retained Isakson’s endorsement since the video was made public. He’s also resurfaced the two-term Republican’s past votes on issues such as fair pay and Planned Parenthood, which Barksdale frames as anti-woman.

Now Barksdale is rolling out a list of nine endorsements from women leaders in Georgia as he argues that he would be a better advocate for women in Washington.

Some of the endorsements were previously announced, including state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams and former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin. Also on the list are state Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler, state Sen. Elena Parent and Nikema Williams, first vice chair of Georgia’s Democratic Party.

“Senator Isakson’s record voting against the interests of Georgia’s women demonstrates the implicit misogyny of his Country Club Republican mindset,” he said in a statement.

The endorsements are notable since many of Georgia’s more prominent Democratic men have kept their distance from Barksdale or backed Isakson outright.

Barksdale’s strategy of tying Isakson to Trump is a relatively new one. The investment manager and political newbie avoided doing so for months, instead focusing on policy. And he at some points made overtures to Trump’s supporters, particularly on trade policy.

But with less than three weeks until voters hit the polls, Barksdale is looking to get as much dirt as possible to stick to the Republican.

As for Isakson, he disavowed Trump’s comments about groping women in a leaked video from 2005 but stopped short of withdrawing his support. And on Wednesday afternoon his campaign announced “Women for Isakson,” a coalition of more than 600 female supporters in Georgia.

Among the group’s members: Georgia’s First Lady Sandra Deal; state Reps. Jan Jones and Sharon Cooper; state Sen. Renee Unterman and the wives of nine of the GOP members of Georgia’s congressional delegation.

“I appreciate the support of all Georgians,” Isakson said in a statement. “From national security to the availability and affordability of health care, to jobs and our economy, the key issues of this election are at the tops of women’s minds.”


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