Exclusive — Karen Handel: ‘I Intend to Have the Last Laugh When I Win’

Karen Handel (Joe Raedle / Getty)
Joe Raedle / Getty

Republican congressional candidate Karen Handel told Breitbart News on Monday morning that she intends to overcome Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats, and liberal media bias, by winning the special election for Georgia’s 6th congressional district on Tuesday.

“There has definitely been a significant bias from the local media like nothing like I have ever experienced,” she told Breitbart News in a telephone interview. “But I intend to have the last laugh when I win tomorrow.”

Handel, a former Georgia Secretary of State, is currently running neck-and-neck with Democrat Jon Ossoff in the race to replace Dr. Tom Price, who was appointed by President Donald Trump as Secretary of Health and Human Services earlier this year.

Ossoff is a newcomer to politics who actually lives outside the district, but who has energized Democratic activists and donors nationwide in the primary race in April by shaping his campaign as a referendum on the Trump administration.

Republicans in the district told Breitbart News during a visit Sunday that they were cautiously optimistic, despite poll numbers showing a dead heat or Ossoff with a small but significant lead.

Handel shared their optimism: “I feel great about things — early voting numbers that we’ve seen look very positive for me, and Republicans tend to be strong on Election Day,” she said.

Politico reported on Sunday night that Republicans believe massive early voting numbers — over 140,000 — favor them, and that they hope to capitalize on the fact that there are more Republican voters in the district. The race has involved some $50 million in spending on both sides, making it the most expensive race in congressional history.

On Monday morning, President Trump tweeted his support for the campaign, urging people to “[V]ote now for Karen H” (though early voting ended on Friday):

In the face of Democrats’ efforts to make the race about Trump, Handel said that she had neither distanced herself nor tied herself to the president. “The only people who want to make this about other things are, frankly, reporters like you and others out there,” she told Breitbart News. “This race is about the people of the 6th district.”

One of the major national issues — aside from Trump himself — is health care, with Republicans’ ongoing efforts to repeal Obamacare criticized by both liberals (for tampering with an entitlement) and conservatives (for not going far enough). But Handel says that has not been a big factor in the race.

“It hasn’t been that much of an issue on the ground,” she told Breitbart News. “For voters in the 6th district, the biggest issue is that Jon Ossoff is from outside the district.”

Asked why Democrats in the district did not seem to mind that, Handel said: “He’s completely aligned with [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi … [Democrats] want someone who will march lockstep with the liberal mantra.”

Other issues, she said, were “veterans issues, transportation infrastructure, the fight against terrorism, [the] budget, and the economy — kitchen-table issues.”

Last week, Handel’s campaign were mailed packages that “contained threatening letters and a suspicious substance.” She told Breitbart that the threats had the effect of “making me and everyone around me more determined to win on Tuesday.”

As for last Wednesday’s shooting attack on Republican congressmen in Alexandria, Virginia, she said that she and her campaign had refused to politicize it. “No one from my camp is going to be making anything political for that.”

She concluded: “I think it’s going to go well for me and for Republicans. We will show the country, and all the eyes on the district, that Nancy Pelosi is not going to come into the district and steal the seat out from under us.”

Election Day is tomorrow, June 20, and both parties seem to expect a close result.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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