Ga. special election Republican accuses Dem of voter registration 'trick'

Ga. special election Republican accuses Dem of voter registration 'trick'
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Karen Handel, the Republican nominee in Georgia’s closely watched 6th District special election, is accusing Democrats of a "trick" by convincing a federal judge to extend voter registration in the district.

Handel, who faces Democrat Jon Ossoff in a runoff next month, lampooned Thursday's federal court decision to reopen voter registration in a Monday fundraising email signed by the candidate.

"This is going to boil your blood. Just hours ago, the Democrats won their lawsuit to extend voter registration in Georgia before our election," she wrote.

"This lawsuit should be seen for exactly what it is: A partisan attempt to change the rules in the middle of an election for a nakedly partisan outcome."

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The email goes on to ask supporters to donate to "fight back against the Democrats' latest trick to deceive this election."

Ossoff's team rejected the fundraising plea in a statement to The Hill. 

 

"Karen Handel has a long track record of putting her personal political agenda above the public interest and here she goes again," Ossoff spokeswoman Sacha Haworth said. 

The Georgia special election has become one of the most heated battlegrounds for Republicans and Democrats fighting for momentum in the early months of President Trump's administration.

Reports emerged over the weekend that the contest had set a new record for spending on a House race with nearly $30 million spent in TV ad time so far.

Democrats fell just short of flipping the historically Republican seat in April when Ossoff fell short of the 50 percent threshold needed to win the jungle primary outright.

While the outcome is giving Republicans a chance to reorganize and coalesce behind one candidate, Ossoff's strong performance gave his party hope that he could flip the seat and send a chill through Republicans ahead of the 2018 midterms.

That's why Democrats viewed Thursday's legal decision as a win — they hope it will allow more Georgians emboldened by Ossoff's performance to vote June 20 in a red district that has typically never had contested general elections.

The ruling will allow voters to register until May 21 — state law closes voter registration 30 days before the primary election on April 18 but does not generally reopen before a runoff.

While Democrats framed the decision as an important win for voting rights, Republicans blasted the move as a political challenge meant to goose Democratic ranks. 

—Updated at 12:56 p.m.