Trump group targets Club for Growth-backed candidate in Ga. special election

A Republican super PAC promoting President Trump’s agenda is wading into the highly anticipated special election in Georgia with an ad targeting a GOP candidate backed by the conservative Club for Growth.

The 45 Committee — founded by GOP mega-donors Sheldon Adelson and Todd Ricketts — is hitting Republican Bob Gray in a new ad for his endorsement from the Club for Growth, which opposed the House GOP’s healthcare bill that Trump embraced.

Gray is one of 18 candidates running in Tuesday's “jungle primary” to fill the seat vacated by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. Democrats have coalesced around 30-year-old Jon Ossoff, who has raised an eye-popping $8.3 million. The party is looking to make the race a referendum on Trump, who won the conservative district by only 1 percentage point. 

"The D.C. special interest group Club for Growth is spending big to prop up Bob Gray's failing campaign," the ad's narrator says. "More government-run healthcare, spending and gridlock."

"If Bob Gray stands with the Club for Growth, how can we trust him to fight for us?"

Club for Growth vocally opposed Trump during the 2016 presidential election and joined other conservative groups in opposition to the House GOP's healthcare bill, arguing it didn’t go far enough and offered new government entitlements. The American Health Care Act ended up getting pulled from a House floor vote after the conservative and moderate wings of the Republican Party took issue with parts of the legislation.

The Club for Growth has also gotten involved in Tuesday's special election, attacking former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel for being a “career politician.”

Gray, however, has aligned himself closely to Trump during his House campaign, saying he wants to be a “willing partner” of the president.

One of his opponents, Bruce LeVell, who led Trump’s national diversity coalition during the campaign, has scrutinized Gray’s pro-Trump credentials and claimed he was part of the “Never Trump” movement.

The 45 Committee's ad comes a few days ahead of Tuesday’s primary as Ossoff is looking to win outright. If no one reaches 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers will head to a runoff on June 20.

Polls show Ossoff sitting in the low 40s, meaning that the race will likely go to a runoff. Republicans will be battling for that second spot. Along with Gray and Handel, the other leading GOP contenders include former state Sens. Judson Hill and Dan Moody.