With only one day of campaigning left to go, the special election for the open congressional seat in Georgia’s sixth district has come down to a nail-biter contest between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel, but the two candidates aren’t expected to do too much damage to each other.“Karen handel is one tough cookie, and she’s also wearing gloves,” says Lisa Blaines, Handel’s chief staff aide. “Let’s see her opponent try to gnaw off the Republican red polish on her nails.”
John Martin, a spokesperson for Ossoff, a first-time candidate who has attracted millions of dollars in support from around the country, says his candidate already chews his own nails, so there’s little for Handel to bite—although that hasn’t stopped her from trying. “She tried to take a piece of nail off his left index finger but our guy wouldn’t let her get a taste of that,” he said.The race is considered a bellwether for 2018, because for more than 30 years the seat has been safely Republican. Analysts attribute the success of Ossoff to voters’ desire to send a message that they don’t approve of the job Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress has been doing since January.
The seat became vacant when Tom Price, who held the seat since 2005, resigned to become secretary of health and human services in the Trump administration.
“It’s a hair-puller, that’s for sure,” says Peter Sylvester, a top fundraiser for Republicans in the state. “Unfortunately, Handel has quite a bit more hair than Ossoff, so of course she’s getting the worst of it. Plus, he uses gel. Have you ever tried to pull out the hair of someone using gel? So, he’s got her on that. But have you seen his nails? There’s almost nothing left.”
Aides from both sides say they’re glad it’s up to the voters now. “If it were left up to the candidates, they’d have no nails, no hair, and maybe no eyeballs,” says Martin. “It’s really gotten nasty.”
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