The money has been flowing in on both sides from the parties and outside donors making the Georgia 6th district special election the most expensive House race in U.S. history. To date, over $40 million has poured into the district for advertising and campaign expenditures between Democrat John Ossoff, and Republican Karen Handel. The question is, why is so much money being essentially wasted on a single seat that will do nothing to change the balance of power, regardless of which party wins it?
NBC News has some answers and it all has to do with President Trump:
The 6th congressional district has been held by Newt Gingrich, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who left the seat open when he joined Trump’s Cabinet. So when the contest heated up, people paid attention — partly because it is seen as a referendum on Trump and possibly an early indicator of how the midterm elections could go next year.
“Democrats saw an opportunity, so they went all in,” Evans said. “Republicans have responded by saying, ‘That’s our seat, it’s a historic seat, we’re going to go all in.’ And when we you have both teams go all in, it becomes one of these unique historic moments.”
It was not inevitable. There are other special congressional elections this year, including in places arguably as competitive as these North Atlanta suburbs. And leaders in both parties were, initially at least, not eager to burn through so many millions of dollars so quickly.
But Ossoff became a vessel for the anti-Trump “resistance,” forcing the GOP to counter. With the race close for months, both parties have felt the need to keep upping the ante, leading to a campaign fundraising arms race of historic proportions.
Basically Jon Ossoff is a stand-in for anti-Trump sentiment. The 6th district leans heavily GOP, but Democrats are hoping for high levels of turnout for Ossoff and maybe some less enthusiastic turnout for Republican Karen Handel. As we noted on Friday the polls are tied right now.
CBS News has some more on the insane amount of money flowing into The Peach State:
Dr. Nadine Becker wasn’t politically involved until she saw Donald Trump elected president, but the suburban Atlanta gynecologist didn’t know how to engage, given her traditionally Republican surroundings.
“I was yelling at the TV and throwing things at the TV,” recalls the 55-year-old mother of three. Then she found her cause in 30-year-old Democrat Jon Ossoff, who is aiming for a major upset in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District runoff Tuesday against Republican Karen Handel.
With a potential price tag exceeding $50 million, the most expensive House race in U.S. history has become a proxy for the nation’s political divides, offering another early test for Trump and the GOP’s monopoly in Washington. And it gives Democrats a chance to prove they can flip at least 24 GOP-held seats and reclaim a House majority in the 2018 midterm elections.
“My values are being threatened,” Becker said, mentioning health care access, abortion rights and voting rights, “and now we have something we can do.”
Some Democrats are being motivated by the possible repeal of ObamaCare, and Ossoff is a vessel to vent that outrage as well. Again, though, Ossoff’s victory wouldn’t do anything to change the balance of the House, but that’s not the point. Right now, for Democrats, it’s about some kind of victory, anywhere. President Trump held a fundraiser for Handel back in April, which has also helped motivate Democrats to come out and beat “his candidate.”
The election happens on Tuesday, June 20th, 2017. We’ll have more coverage on the race later today.