Handel, Ossoff emphasize local in final stretch of nationalized race

Jon Ossoff and Karen Handel supporters. AJC/Bob Andres

He said nothing about Vice President Mike Pence’s campaign appearance with Karen Handel last week. He bit his tongue over President Donald Trump’s tongue-lashing robocall sent to thousands of 6th Congressional District voters over the past week. And he held back after former FBI Director Jim Comey’s explosive testimony.

For a candidate who once put his opposition to Trump at the center of his campaign, Jon Ossoff has been walking a much finer line in the final days before Tuesday’s runoff. It’s all about navigating the middle ground between enticing Democrats and capturing the slice of Republicans he’ll need to win the seat.

Handel has tried a similar balancing act in an appeal to conservatives in the Republican-leaning district, trying to cast herself as an experienced conservative who is also eager to shake up the status quo. On the heels of Pence’s visit, she maintained that she’s accepting of all the big-name help she can get but said she’s no “extension” of the White House.

Both are trying to tread delicate ground in a hypernationalized race that’s the most expensive of its kind, and both of their final pitches reflect the caustic nature of the contest.

 

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