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Some Georgia Republicans see a 'political upside' to tragic shooting

"I'll tell you what: I think the shooting is going to win this election for us," one GOP official said in reference to Georgia's congressional special election.
Traffic thickens on Interstate 75/85, Feb. 25, 2015, in Atlanta, Ga. (Photo by David Tulis/AP)
Traffic thickens on Interstate 75/85, Feb. 25, 2015, in Atlanta, Ga. 

The closely watched congressional special election in Georgia is tomorrow, and Republicans are more than a little nervous about losing a seat they assumed would be theirs indefinitely. Consider, for example, this Washington Post piece on some in the party seeing an electoral benefit from last week's D.C.-area shooting, which left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) clinging to life.

Some Republicans see political upside in the tragedy. Brad Carver is chairman of the Republican Party in the neighboring 11th Congressional District, which is represented by Barry Loudermilk, a member of the GOP baseball squad who was on the scene during last Wednesday's shooting."I'll tell you what: I think the shooting is going to win this election for us," Carver said Saturday after a get-out-the-vote rally for Handel in Chamblee. "Because moderates and independents in this district are tired of left-wing extremism."

It's unsettling that anyone would look for partisan advantage in a mass shooting. It's even more alarming when someone feels comfortable making such an argument out loud, in front of a public audience.

As for the idea that Jon Ossoff's moderate message deserves to be tied to the actions of a dangerous madman, that's obviously offensive, but the sentiment apparently isn't limited to Georgia's Brad Carver. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that a Republican group called the Principled PAC has launched a new attack ad, showing Steve Scalise being wheeled away on a stretcher.

"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." The same commercial, without proof, claims the left "is endorsing and applauding shooting Republicans."

In case this weren't quite enough, other Republicans, hoping to give Karen Handel's (R) campaign an 11th-hour boost, are trying to deceive local voters. CNN reported:

An outside group that supports President Donald Trump is running a radio ad in Atlanta ahead of Georgia's special election Tuesday that takes the voice of former President Barack Obama out of context to make the argument that Democrats take black voters for granted.Great America Alliance, a pro-Trump non-profit group that previously ran ads attacking former FBI director James Comey during his testimony, is running an ad that quotes Obama narrating his autobiographical book "Dreams From My Father." The ad, however, does not mention that in the selected passage, Obama is actually quoting someone else who is speaking about the black community and Chicago politics before the early 1980s.

Ad campaigns like these are part of a massive investment on Handel's behalf from outside groups. While Ossoff has raised far more money for the race than his Republican rival, Handel has benefited from over $10 million in investments -- nearly all of which has gone towards attack ads -- from GOP entities that have intervened since the first round of balloting in April.