The House Democrats' campaign arm is hitting the airwaves with a six-figure ad buy ahead of Georgia's pivotal June House seat runoff, looking to tar Republican candidate Karen Handel as a free-spending career politician.
Democrats had hoped that Jon Ossoff could win the Tuesday jungle primary outright, flipping a red seat and sending a message to Republicans about a 2018 midterm threat to their House majority. But Ossoff fell just short, pushing him into a runoff with second-place finisher Handel.
After both candidates rose above the 18-person field, their parties are retraining their fire on their new general-election opponents.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's (DCCC) ad hits Handel for using taxpayer money to pay for a car and criticizing her spending on travel and her office budget during her role as Georgia secretary of state. According to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story cited in the ad about Handel's car, she was given the choice under state law to either take a state car for travel or accept a monthly allowance of $587.
The ad plays that spending up against budget shortfalls that caused cuts to education.
"Karen Handel, living the high life. She'd fit right in in Washington," the narrator says to end the ad, as a cartoon Handel drives past the Capitol in a limousine.
Evan Lukaske, a DCCC spokesman, announced the ad in a press release, saying Handel is known for "living high on the taxpayer dime."
“Republicans’ incompetence in this race has left them with a candidate who is best known for two things: losing repeatedly and living high on the taxpayer dime. The Committee’s early runoff investment will help bolster Ossoff’s momentum coming out of the special, and is reflective of the DCCC’s offensive position across the map this cycle," he said.
Republicans have already jumped onto the air too, continuing the campaign rhetoric bashing Ossoff as a creation of the Washington and media elites. Ads by the Congressional Leadership Fund — a super PAC aligned with House GOP leadership — and the National Republican Congressional Committee both needle Ossoff for living outside the district and raising most of his money from outside the state.