Republican candidate for Senate Karen Handel speaks to a reporter during a campaign stop in Roswell, Ga., Wednesday, May 14, 2014. The U.S. Senate race is one of the most closely watched in the country as Republicans seek to take control of the chamber away from Democrats. Seven Republicans and four Democrats are running for the Georgia seat, which opened when Sen. Saxby Chambliss announced plans to retire. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Message Failure? Handel Goes For Warm, Fuzzy, When GA-6 Is ‘Neck and Neck’

Karen Handel is simply too nice for politics, I think. She should be double-digits ahead of Democrat Jon Ossoff in a heavily Republican district, but she keeps zagging when she should zig.

Witness Handel’s latest video, in which she softly and sweetly speaks of doing good, living in the 6th District for 25 years, and calling her fellow constituents “friends.” She did everything but bake cookies. It’s precisely the wrong message.

The latest poll, out Sunday, from Gravis Marketing shows the race neck and neck–a dead heat with Ossoff ahead well within the MOE.

Florida-based Gravis Marketing released the results of a new survey that shows Democrat Jon Ossoff leading Republican Karen Handel 47 percent to 45 percent with just more than a month left before the June 20 runoff.

Ossoff’s advantage is within the poll’s 3.3 percentage point margin of error, however, meaning the race remains a tossup. The poll was conducted May 8-10.

This is what political campaign operatives call “bad juju.” It’s a bad sign to be even a month before a high-profile, low turnout runoff for a special election scheduled in the middle of summer vacation.

Add to this the fact that outside money is pouring into Ossoff’s campaign, while Handel herself goes all warm and fuzzy. She should be spearing Ossoff with direct attacks instead of making veiled references to her “friends” in the district.

Ossoff doesn’t live in the district he’s running to represent. He’s young and inexperienced, having served as an intern–a legislative aide–to Rep. Hank Johnson. He’s supported by Rep. John Lewis, a professional race-baiter who trades on fear and his long-ago role in the black civil rights movement.

Lewis just gave a commencement speech at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts encouraging graduates to “Go out there, get in the way, get in trouble — good trouble, necessary trouble and make some noise.” And Handel is campaigning as if she’s running for mayor of John’s Creek (Georgia). That’s not cutting it.

I’m not predicting that Handel will lose to Ossoff. But she should be more concerned than her messaging indicates.

Warm and fuzzy will not win this race.

About the author

Steve Berman

The old Steve cared about money, prestige, and power. Then Christ found me. All at once things changed. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

I spent 30 years in business. Now I write and edit. But mostly I love. I have a wife and 2 kids and a dog and we live in a little house in central Georgia.

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