Spicer: Trump will ‘help the team’ if needed in Georgia special election

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President Trump is willing to help the GOP in April’s nationally watched Georgia special election “if needed,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday.

But Spicer stayed noncommittal about whether Trump would actually campaign or offer other concrete support on the high-profile race to fill the House seat last held by Tom Price, now Trump’s secretary of Health and Human Services. 

“Honestly, I have not even thought about it,” Spicer said at a press briefing.

“I think that, if needed, the president has always been very clear that he wants to support the team and help the team. I have not looked into the race in Georgia,” he continued, referring reporters to the national party or House GOP’s campaign arm for the Republican view of the race.

{mosads}It’s not clear whether Trump’s involvement would actually help Republicans in the race. While Trump won the state of Georgia by 5 percentage points over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, he only won the 6th District by 1 point. 

Early voting in the suburban Atlanta race, which has drawn outsize national attention as the first competitive race of the Trump era, kicked off Monday.

Eighteen candidates, regardless of party, will compete in a “jungle primary” on April 18. If no candidate reaches 50 percent support, the top two vote getters will square off in a runoff election on June 20.

Democrats are hoping to make the race a referendum on Trump’s first few months in office and have rallied behind Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old investigative filmmaker and former congressional aide. Ossoff, who likely faces the best chance of winning if he can win a majority in the primary and prevent a runoff, has received fundraising support from progressive groups and staffing help from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Ossoff’s campaign even received a little star power from actress Alyssa Milano and actor Chris Gorham, who offered to drive voters to the polls.

Ossoff’s fundraising and lead in the polls have prompted Republican candidates and groups to largely train their fire on the Georgia Democrat.

Republicans are turning the heat up on Ossoff, painting him as unqualified and accusing him of inflating his resume. They have challenged Ossoff’s national security credentials, arguing he doesn’t have as much experience as he claims. 

Still, intraparty fighting among Republican candidates has also escalated.

The conservative Club for Growth launched a TV ad knocking Republican Karen Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, as a “big-spending career politician.” The Club has endorsed Bob Gray, a former Republican councilman. Some polls found that Handel and Gray are the top two GOP candidates in the primary.

But Handel also got a boost from former Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), who is holding a fundraiser for her. 

Other GOP candidates are seeking to break out of a crowded primary field. Former state Sen. Dan Moody received a powerful endorsement from Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.).

And while Trump himself isn’t likely to weigh in, some former campaign staffers and surrogates will be stumping for Republican Bruce LeVell, who led Trump’s national diversity coalition during the campaign. Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s first campaign manager, and pastor and former campaign surrogate Mark Burns are holding a rally with LeVell on Wednesday.

Tags Hillary Clinton Saxby Chambliss

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