Now Kathy Griffin is an issue in the Georgia special election

CNN fires Kathy Griffin over anti-Trump photo
CNN fires Kathy Griffin over anti-Trump photo

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  • A super PAC with close ties to House Republican leaders is trying to link Griffin to Jon Ossoff
  • The tie between Ossoff and Griffin mentioned in the ad is a very thin one

Washington (CNN)Days after comedian Kathy Griffin was photographed with what was made to look like President Donald Trump's detached head, she's become an issue in the high-profile Georgia special election set to conclude later this month.

A new ad from the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC with close ties to House Republican leaders, tries to link Griffin (and liberals nationally) to Democratic nominee Jon Ossoff.
    "Liberal extremists have gone too far," says the ad's narrator as images of protesters smashing in windows and a car on fire are shown on screen.
    "Now a celebrity Jon Ossoff supporter is making jokes about beheading the president of the United States," intones the narrator. Griffin is shown, picking up the fake Trump head and slapping five with the photographer. "It's not funny," the narrator adds. "These angry liberals will go to any extreme to elect Jon Ossoff."
    The tie between Ossoff and Griffin mentioned in the ad is a very thin one -- in the form of this tweet, sent March 27, in which the comedian urges her followers to vote for Ossoff in the primary election.
    Nonetheless, the ad reaffirms just how nationalized this race has become. Both national parties have poured tens of million of dollars into the race for this suburban Atlanta seat -- it is now the single most expensive House race in US history -- under the belief that the outcome of the June 20 runoff will tell us something fundamental about the state of American politics in the age of Trump.
    An Ossoff victory, given the Republican lean of the Georgia 6th district, would show that even Republican voters don't like the direction that Trump is leading the country. And it would presage a bloodbath at the ballot next fall for the GOP.
    A Handel win, on the other hand, would show that all of the "sky is falling" predictions are so much, well, fake news. That Trump and his problems don't impact downballot Republicans and that the national Democrats have a brand problem of their own thanks to their ultra-liberal leaders and backers like Griffin.
    Both views are an oversimplification, of course. No race -- especially a special election in mid June -- is decided on a single factor. But, there's no question that this race has been nationalized almost since its start, with both parties test-driving their potential 2018 messages.
    Which means that the race is, to some extent, a proxy vote between Trumpism and its reactionaries (of which Griffin has become the most radicalized to date).
    In short: Expect more of Trump -- and maybe even Griffin -- in the final 18 days of the Georgia contest.