Trump remains a divisive figure in Georgia, according to a recent pair of AJC/Channel 2 polls of likely primary voters, but he remains wildly popular among likely GOP voters. They gave the president an 80 percent approval rating. Meanwhile, his approval rating among Democrats was a dismal 7 percent, with about 9 in 10 of the party's primary voters disapproving of his tenure in office.
Trump carried Georgia's 6th District by slightly more than 1 percentage point in 2016, but Handel still embraced him ahead of the special election runoff, appearing on the same stage with him and accepting his fundraising help. She ended up winning the district by more than 3.5 percentage points.
Both parties in Washington are closely watching the early stages of the 6th and 7th District races before deciding how much they plan to get involved this fall. Both seats are held by Republicans, but House Democrats, feeling emboldened by Trump’s divisiveness and sustained civic activism on the left, have targeted both suburban Atlanta seats as potential pickup opportunities.
Stivers was tight-lipped about the party’s approach to Georgia’s 6th District this year beyond emphasizing get-out-the-vote initiatives. The party invested millions in television ads and canvassers to do just that ahead of the special election, and “it worked,” he said.
“We’ll (run) some digital and other media get out the vote campaigns through the fall” this year, Stivers said. “We’ve got a couple cards up our sleeve that I’m not going to talk about on get out the vote, but we’ve got a couple of new things that we’re going to be previewing in the fall.”
Handel has been quietly amassing a large war chest in recent months as a quartet of Democrats has tangled for the chance to take her on in November. The Roswell resident has so far refused to engage with any of her potential challengers in person or in the press, but recent fundraising notices from her campaign signal she plans to focus on the GOP tax bill and Pelosi in the months ahead.
Stivers' comments about embracing Trump on the campaign trail came shortly after his Democratic counterpart, U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, signaled the party was urging its candidates to focus less on the president and more on policy issues in their campaigns. Next door in the 7th District, the seven candidates challenging GOP incumbent Rob Woodall have taken divergent approaches to Trump.
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