Karen Handel, the Republican candidate for a runoff congressional election in Georgia, said over the weekend that she welcomed President Donald Trump’s support after he held a Friday fundraiser for her.
That’s a shift from her earlier approach to the campaign, when she avoided invoking the President’s name at all.
During a Saturday interview on Fox News, host Neil Cavuto asked Handel if it’s an “indictment on all things Trump” if she were to lose the June runoff race to Democrat Jon Ossoff.
“Well, obviously I feel the pressure, but not so much for what it means for the President, but what it means for the people of the 6th district,” she replied.
Cavuto pressed further, asking if Trump’s controversies could hurt her in the race. Handel did not directly answer the question and instead said that she’s glad to have Trump’s help.
“He’s the president of the United States, so to be able to have the President’s support is a good thing, especially in a very solid Republican district,” she said. “With that said, it’s the press and the Ossoff folks and the Democrats who want to make this about the president. This is about the people of the 6th District.”
Handel shied away from Trump in the run-up to the April jungle primary, barely mentioning him on the campaign trail and leaving him out of her election night “victory” speech altogether. But since she advanced to the runoff, she has embraced Trump’s support.
Handel told Cavuto she would welcome Trump back to Georgia and said she expects House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to help out soon, too.
Trump raised about $750,000 for Handel’s campaign at a fundraiser in Atlanta on Friday. He also praised her during a speech at the National Rifle Association.
“She’s totally for the NRA and she’s totally for the Second Amendment. So get out and vote,” Trump said. “You know, she’s running against someone who is going to raise your taxes to the sky and destroy your healthcare.”