Georgia Sixth: Ossoff, Handel condemn TV ad that ties Democrats to Scalise shooting

Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel strongly condemned an attack ad that surfaced Sunday accusing the “unhinged left” of endorsing violence against Republicans days before the nationally-watched race to represent Georgia’s 6th District is decided.

The ad, funded by a little-known group called the Principled PAC, opens with sounds of gunshots and footage of U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise being wheeled away on a stretcher after he and other members of the Republican congressional baseball team were ambushed by a lone gunman while practicing in a Washington suburb.

“The man is fighting for his life,” Ossoff said Sunday after a campaign stop. “I think it’s disgraceful to politicize it, and I think Secretary Handel should call for it to come down.”

A spokeswoman for Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, called the video “disturbing and disgusting” in a statement that stopped short of asking for the ad to be removed.

“For any group to use the shootings this week for political or personal benefit is shameful,” said Kate Constantini. “This group should be ashamed.”

Watch the TV spot here:

The ad urges Republicans to “stop” Ossoff and claims that the “unhinged left is endorsing and applauding shooting Republicans.”

“When will it stop?” a narrator asks. “It won’t if Jon Ossoff wins on Tuesday, because the same unhinged leftists cheering last week’s shooting are all backing Jon Ossoff. And if he wins, they win.”

Both candidates have called for more civility after the ballfield shootings in the race to represent Georgia’s 6th District, a suburban stretch of north Atlanta that both parties consider crucial to win. It’s by far the most expensive U.S. House contest in history, and President Donald Trump and other White House officials have stumped for the Republican.

After Scalise’s shooting, the tensions in the race ratcheted up even more. Handel and several neighbors received threatening letters with a white substance the FBI later said was likely not hazardous. Ossoff said he had to hire a security detail amid escalating threats his campaign had received.

The PAC’s ad flashes a screenshot of the letter sent to Handel, as well as the image of comedian Kathy Griffin holding a decapitated head that resembles Donald Trump.

Principled PAC bills itself as a group that only supports “principled conservatives who have the backbone to stand up to the Washington elite,” but is a bit player in the political world and has faced staunch criticism from conservative leaders. Its five-figure ad buy pales in comparison to the millions pumped into the race by influential groups from both sides of the partisan divide.

Ossoff was asked whether he’s worried if these ads might sway voters.

“I can’t even think about the politics of it. You’ve got a national tragedy that’s united people,” he said. “There are still people who are in critical condition. It’s got no place in an attack ad.”

More recent AJC 6th District coverage:

When your own rhetoric gives you license to commit mayhem. And worse

National Democrats, Republicans both see 6th District as a must-win

Jon Ossoff: The making of a Georgia Democratic dynamo

Karen Handel: A ‘fighter’ returns to the political arena

First-timers get involved in 6th District get-out-the-vote effort

Exhausted 6th District voters prepare for vote

Trump robocall slams ‘tax-raising’ Ossoff in Georgia 6th race

Georgia 6th District: AJC poll shows Ossoff with lead over Handel

Reader Comments 0


John Ossoff is a moderate who does not lock-step with every idea coming out of the Blue side or the Red side. We don't need blind allegiance to a party creed, we need someone who knows a good idea when he sees one and will reach bridge the aisle to get good things done for his district and the country. Handel is a robo-republican and a Trump fan-girl who will line-up to offer felty to the naked king.


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Mr Peabody
Mr Peabody

That BS. I don't believe Handel was unaware of the ad.


No reason to show this unfair extremist ad except to discredit Handel, who had nothing to do with it but will now be fodder for self righteous pious outrage from Ossoff supporters.

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Maria Connors
Maria Connors

This paper is streaming the reprehensible Republican attack ad so how is this paper different from the condemned PAC that put it out ? Handel can't win if people are focused on the issues since she doesn't support healthcare or a livable wage as human rights so she and her supporters resort to this. It's vile.


The ad is exactly what one can expect from the GOP.  It's bad enough that Handel's ads show wrinkled white people saying that Ossoff "isn't one of us".  The joke on them is that Handel was born in DC and "isn't one of us" either.