Stivers said Woodall has "done a great job reaching out into non-traditional Republican communities," a nod to Gwinnett's fast-changing demographics. And of Handel, Stivers said she is simply a "pro," pointing to her 4-point victory in last year's record-smashing special election.
Democrats are zeroing in on suburban women to help deliver them the House majority this fall, pinning their hopes on the stark gender divide surrounding Donald Trump. That strategy has put female GOP candidates on the defensive as they seek to appeal to both the president's fans and Republican women turned off by his brash style.
Handel, Stivers said, has a special pull with those voters because she herself “is the quintessential suburban woman.”
“She represents her constituents very, very well,” he said. “She’s had some big successes in her short time in Congress, and I think the voters are going to return her to Congress.”
Handel and Woodall have both focused on their own D.C. records on the campaign trail this year, emphasizing recent votes on human trafficking, opioid and tax legislation. Stivers said he expects the latter to be a "closing argument" for many Republicans this year.
“The real question is why would anybody want to change horses now when the economy is so good,” he said.
In an interview earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, Stivers’ Democratic counterpart, said his party plans to message heavily against the tax law in wealthy suburban districts like Georgia’s 6th and 7th.
“I believe that you’re going to see the tax debate talked about quite a bit in this district,” he said of the 6th, “and it’s not going to be in a way where Karen Handel is very proud of the fact that she voted to increase costs on homeowners.”
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