Candidates in special Georgia election receive threats

Karen Handel and Jon Ossoff vow to work with law enforcement to counter intimidation

Candidates in Georgia's special congressional election Karen Handel (R) and Jon Ossof (D) participate in a debate (YouTube screenshot)
Candidates in Georgia's special congressional election Karen Handel (R) and Jon Ossof (D) participate in a debate (YouTube screenshot)

ROSWELL, Georgia — Candidates in a contentious special congressional election in Atlanta’s suburbs have reported receiving threats.

“This afternoon we had some suspicious packages delivered to our house and our neighbors,” Karen Handel said in a statement read to reporters on Thursday by volunteers at her campaign outposts. “The packages contained threatening letters and a suspicious substance.”

Handel, the Republican candidate in Tuesday’s election, said her campaign would continue to work with law enforcement. The media quoted police as saying that the suspicious substance was a white powder.

Jon Ossoff, her Democratic opponent, said in a statement that his campaign had also received “a number of threats, some of which have intensified in recent days, and we have reported them to local police as well as taken prudent precautions.”

The reports of threats come just days after a gunman opened fire in Alexandria, Virginia, on congressional Republicans practicing for a charity baseball game, wounding five, including Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the third-ranked Republican in the US House of Representatives.

The gunman, who was slain in return fire by Capitol Police, had posted on Facebook virulent attacks on President Donald Trump and had campaigned for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in his unsuccessful bid last year to win the Democratic presidential nomination.

“These recent events speak to the need for a redoubled commitment to civility and unity,” Ossoff’s statement said. “The overwhelming majority of Americans want decent and civil political dialogue, and candidates for office and elected leaders must continue to call for calm and unity, even when there are intense differences of opinion.”

The congressional race in Georgia’s 6th District is believed to be the most expensive in history. The contest in a traditionally Republican district is neck and neck in the polls, and a win by Ossoff, who is Jewish, would be touted by Democrats as a repudiation of Trump’s agenda and a harbinger of Democrats possibly retaking the House in 2018.

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