Hill slams GOP rivals as Ossoff, Gray gain ground in Georgia special election

Former state Sen. Judson Hill. BRANT SANDERLIN/BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

Fighting for a fractured slice of the GOP electorate, former state Sen. Judson Hill tried to gain ground on Monday by slamming a top Republican rival’s pro-Donald Trump credentials in the bitter fight to represent a suburban Atlanta district.

Hill’s campaign invoked social media posts critical of Trump that were purported to be from Bob Gray, an ex-Johns Creek councilman who has built his campaign on a pledge to be a “willing partner” for the president. The two are among 18 candidates in the April 18 special election.

The attacks came amid mounting evidence that Republicans are fighting over one slot in a likely June 20 runoff between the two top vote-getters. Democrat Jon Ossoff, with a “Make Trump Furious” campaign, appears to be consolidating support among his party’s five candidates in the contest.


Hill is also brandishing one of his top assets in the race: The endorsement from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who won Georgia’s 6th District in the 2016 presidential primary. Rubio and another supporter, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, are headlining a Washington fundraiser for Hill on Monday afternoon.

His campaign took aim at Gray, whose TV commercials feature him wielding an industrial-grade water pump as he wades knee-deep into a swamp in an homage to Trump’s campaign slogan.

“Moving from the swamp to dry land too quickly can prove fatal for a politician who’s gotten used to the swamp,” said Ian Caraway, Hill’s campaign manager, who said Gray is misleading voters. “He’s not a ‘willing partner’ for Trump so much as a ‘willing phony.'”

Gray spokesman Joash Thomas has called the social media posts “simply fake and untrue” and pointed to Gray’s work at Trump’s Georgia campaign office during the campaign as “something that can’t be photo-shopped.”

“Failing campaigns always attack first,” he said. “It’s not surprising that we’re a target.”

The increasingly barbed attacks from the rivals reflect a fast-changing calculus in the race to replace former Rep. Tom Price. A zPolitics poll released Monday showed Ossoff at 41 percent – and Gray deadlocked with former Secretary of State Karen Handel at 16 percent.

Many GOP analysts now see Ossoff, who has raised more than $3 million, as a shoo-in to land the most votes in the special election for the seat, which stretches from east Cobb to north DeKalb. That’s prompted the 11 Republicans to sharpen their attacks on each other – and Ossoff.

More: Republicans, Democrats target Ossoff in Georgia special election

More AJC coverage of the Sixth District race:

How outside forces play an outsized role in Georgia’s 6th District race

Bob Gray’s pro-Trump credentials under fire

Ad blitz for Georgia’s Sixth District race already tops $3.7M

House GOP health care plan divides Sixth District candidates

Jon Ossoff rattles conservatives in race for Georgia’s Sixth

Reader Comments 0

17 comments
Steve Britt
Steve Britt

Ossoff is a fake. He's a pointless actor. His real experience is as an aide. He's embellished every single aspect of his so called "Experience". Take a pure uninformed idiot to vote for this fake. Right.... I get it. He's banking on their being plenty of uninformed idiot's that'll buy his BS. Damn! No surprise he's running as a Democrat.

Jackie Lovett
Jackie Lovett

#FlipThe6th #Ossoff \U0001f1fa\U0001f1f8\U0001f1fa\U0001f1f8

Doug Rogers
Doug Rogers

Throw all of the conservative Hypocrite Republicans out. They are the "do nothing party. "

Lea Cecilia
Lea Cecilia

The democrats are gonna do just like St. Louis, dilute the vote. There needs to be an assessment by the democrats and a front runner chosen and the rest dropping out and falling behind the one.

Trevor Stricklin
Trevor Stricklin

Ossoff is Nancy Pelosi's Star Wars boy toy... and yes man...

John D. Melton II
John D. Melton II

See Georgia 2nd CD... another pelosi rubber stamp... poorest district in the state and the ranking member on the Defense loses 3rd Brigade 3 ID and over 250 million a year in salaries... that going to be ossaf... worthless

Trevor Stricklin
Trevor Stricklin

Democrats love a brainless stooge that will do as told.. hopefully ossoff won't dress in his Star Wars costume and battle imaginary bad guys on the house floor if elected.

Andrew S. Meyer
Andrew S. Meyer

Certainly wouldn't hurt the American people if he did, unlike the policies the current administration continues to pursue.

Ken Murphy
Ken Murphy

After the Republican double cross of America yesterday this seat and many others will go back to the dems.

Partha Chakraborty
Partha Chakraborty

Trevor Peacock Republicans had 6 years to have a plan. Repealing Obamacare was just a election line.

Trevor Stricklin
Trevor Stricklin

So the Republicanns can't pull off a fix for the disaster that is Obamacare in the first 100 days and they double crossed America.. let's not forget who put us in the position of fixing what was a failure to start with.

DerekGator
DerekGator

All of these republicans candidates need to get together and pick one or two that have a chance and the rest need to drop out asap.  If these clowns are not careful and end up splitting the vote, the idiot Ossoff could end up with 51% and the Dems will be laughing all of the way to DC.