Ossoff’s tricky tightrope act on Trump in Georgia’s 6th District runoff

Democrat Jon Ossoff. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Democrat Jon Ossoff often doesn’t mention Donald Trump’s name at campaign events unless pressed by voters or reporters. He doesn’t make much hay about the controversies plaguing the Republican’s young presidency. And he steers well clear of the i-word: impeachment.

For someone once branded by his campaign as a “Make Trump Furious” candidate, Ossoff has stayed away from serrated-edged criticism of the president ahead of the nationally watched June 20 runoff with Republican Karen Handel in the 6th Congressional District.

He typically dodges chances to take a swipe at Trump and clung to a relative silence during the president’s visit to Atlanta in April to stump with Handel. And Ossoff is not running on the latest string of setbacks besetting Trump, saying instead that voters are “tired of partisan rhetoric and interested in solutions.”

 

 

It’s Exhibit A of the tightrope act that Ossoff is trying to navigate over Trump as he tries to energize left-leaning voters infuriated by the president without turning off the moderates and independents he’s trying to woo to flip the Republican-leaning territory.

“I don’t know,” he said when asked what a Handel victory would mean for Trump. “I know that folks in the 6th District are interested in effective, open-minded, independent representation that will put the needs of this community above the partisan circus in Washington.”

Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, has left little doubt about her ties to Trump. After months of an arm’s length approach, she wholeheartedly embraced him after landing a spot in the runoff. And she’s taken up his defense after last week’s turmoil, casting a skeptical note about damaging media reports.

There soon could be another headline-grabbing reminder of Handel’s links to Trump. Her campaign plans to bring in Vice President Mike Pence for a June 9 visit days before the vote.

Read the rest of the story on MyAJC: Ossoff mostly lets others make anti-Trump attacks in Georgia’s 6th


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