Jon Ossoff, the young Democratic congressional candidate from Georgia and one of the few new faces to take on the Trump administration, has a new adversary in the runoff election this June: President Trump himself. Thus far, Ossoff had a powerful edge over his rivals in his attempt at turning the long-time Republican district blue: cold, hard cash. Democrats across the country have been donating to his campaign in droves, and it nearly worked. But now, the race is headed to a runoff and President Trump will hold a fundraiser for Karen Handel, Ossoff's Republican rival in the race.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the news Tuesday, posting the invitation, which mimics the Trump campaign posters, complete with the red stars and blue lettering. Trump is billed as the special guest to the reception honoring Handel, and it sounds like quite the event.
For one, the selected guests had better be prepared to pony up. The entrance starts at $2,700 per person or $5,400 per couple just to attend the reception, which will be held this Friday at 2:30 p.m. in Atlanta, Georgia. But it can get even more expensive. If a couple or PAC (because, of course) raises or donates $25,000, they not only get to attend but also get a photo opportunity.
Trump to hold fundraiser for Handel on Friday in Atlanta https://t.co/6wwo8bciC9— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) April 26, 2017
This is not the first time that Trump has waded into the race. He has repeatedly bashed Ossoff — on the internet, in the media, and over the phone. On Twitter, he said that Ossoff is "VERY weak on crime and illegal immigration, bad for jobs and wants higher taxes." He also recorded robocalls criticizing Ossoff. "Only you can stop the super liberal Democrats and Nancy Pelosi's group, and in particular, Jon Ossoff," Trump said, adding, "If you don't vote tomorrow, Ossoff will raise your taxes, destroy your health care and flood our country with illegal immigrants."
Democrat Jon Ossoff would be a disaster in Congress. VERY weak on crime and illegal immigration, bad for jobs and wants higher taxes. Say NO— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2017
As public radio station WABE reports, Trump was already scheduled to be in town to address the National Rifle Association's annual convention at the Georgia World Congress Center. About 70,000 people are expected to show, and Trump will address them on Friday as well, just before the fundraiser. (Interestingly, this is the one part of the convention where attendees aren't allowed to bring their guns.) This is the first time a sitting president will address the group since Ronald Reagan did in 1983.
Trump is killing two birds with one stone. He's solidifying his base at the NRA, then raising money for his best shot at preventing a Democratic candidate from winning an energized race. Money may be the answer to doing that. But if Trump remains unpopular, Handel getting closer to him could also backfire.
You'll have to wait until the race in June to find out.