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Where do the parties get these candidates?? He’s a tall, skinny Peewee Herman type, she’s a short, frumpy Rosie O’Donnell type. He doesn’t even live in the district, she’s a terminal loser—with the same campaigning ability as Hillary Clinton. THAT is why the parties have had to spend more than in any congressional race in American history.

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Does the race matter? Not in numbers. Republicans have a hefty majority in the House, so one seat won’t make any difference at all. But FiveThirtyEight says the race matters, anyway.

Either outcome could affect where congressional Republicans go from here.

The “takes” you’ll read about the special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District on Tuesday night are probably going to be dumb. . . Here’s the thing, though: Sometimes dumb things matter if everyone agrees that they matter. Congressional Republicans could use a signal of any kind right now to coordinate their strategy around two vexing issues: first, their health care bill, and second, their behavior toward President Trump and the investigations surrounding him.

There has been a lot of interest in the race. The level of early voting has been “unprecedented.”

More than 140,300 people had cast ballots by the end of the race’s early-voting period Friday, a total that includes both in-person early voters as well as returned absentee-by-mail ballots. That’s a 150 percent increase over the number of people who voted early ahead of the race’s original April 18 special election. . .

Mark Rountree, the president of Landmark Communications, has predicted an overall turnout of 235,000 to 240,000 voters — with a majority probably having voted early.

Ossoff took more of the early voting in April’s election, but that’s because he was the only serious Democrat, while there were 11 Republicans. There was no excitement on the GOP side. One would expect a strong turnout among Republicans this time—by the same folks who gave Tom Price three landslides in a row in the district.

Breitbart reports that a Republican SuperPac is trying to tie Ossoff to the recent shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise. It should be noted that the five-figure ad buy is only on Fox, so they are hoping to rouse the base—not rouse the ire of disgusted independents. Here’s the gist of the ad:

Now the unhinged left is endorsing and applauding shooting Republicans.

When will it stop? 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.

Seriously??

As FiveThirtyEight noted, the race has become a referendum on national issues, such as the Republicans’ unpopular Obamacare replacement bill. Also, if Handel loses in this landslide district, some Republicans may be less afraid to go against Donald Trump. As Nate noted elsewhere here, most Republicans in Washington would LOVE to work with a President Mike Pence.

There are a few other national issues, such as climate change.

Two-thirds of voters in Georgia’s 6th District are very concerned or extremely concerned about climate change, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll conducted after Donald Trump’s decision to pull out from the Paris climate agreement. . .

Handel has praised Trump’s decision to abandon the pollution-cutting agreement aimed at slowing climate change. . . Ossoff, who has warned that “history will condemn us” for withdrawing from the agreement, criticized Handel’s response.

Ossoff has also hit Handel on her stand on the “livable wage.”

A Republican candidate in a nationally watched Georgia congressional race says she doesn’t support a “livable wage.”

That was the way Karen Handel explained her opposition to a minimum-wage increase during a debate Tuesday night with Jon Ossoff. . .

Public opinion polls have for years showed a majority of American adults back a higher federal minimum wage.

Also, Handel opposes same-sex adoption.

On Thursday, Handel told a reporter that in her view, allowing same-sex couples to adopt is not in “the best interest of the child.” A mother then approached Handel and explained to her that, as the mother of a gay daughter, she was “torn”: She has a “conservative nature,” but she wants her daughter to be “able to adopt a kid.” Handel responded bluntly: “I have to be honest, my faith calls me to a different place on that issue.”. . .

Handel notoriously favored outlawing same-sex adoption during her unsuccessful run for Georgia governor in 2010. She also opposed marriage, civil unions, and even domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.

But, again, health-care seems to be an issue that “trumps” the others, according to Georgia polls.

The really bad news for Republicans, and the detail that could be foreshadowing a national slide for the GOP in the 2018 midterm elections, was buried deep inside the crosstabs of the AJC poll at Question #38: “Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the House GOP Obamacare replacement bill?” The answer: Just 25 percent of voters in this (usually) Republican district had a favorable opinion of the House-passed health care bill, while 62 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of it. Among independent voters, the reaction was worse, with just 19 percent saying they favored the bill.

In the same AJC poll, 81 percent called health care “extremely important” or “very important” to their vote next Tuesday. And 94 percent said they were very or somewhat concerned about health care costs, compared to 64 percent who were very or someone concerned about Russian interference in U.S. affairs.

The 6th District was clearly Gerrymandered to make it a “safe” Republican seat. Also, there have been charges of voter suppression. And there were reports of voting problems in the April election.

The Daily Caller has a 3-minute video of a debate between Ossoff and Handel.

Democratic congressional candidate Jon Ossoff struggled through a brutal four minutes in Georgia’s special election debate Tuesday night after Republican Karen Handel called him out for not living in the district he is hoping to represent. . .

After a prolonged silence, Ossoff defended himself by saying he lives outside the district in order to support his fiance, a medical student at Emory University. He then attacked Handel for being born in Washington, D.C. and for asking about where he lives instead of the “questions of concern to the voters of the 6th District.”

However, if you watch the video, you’ll see a calm and composed Ossoff answer a complaint that’s been leveled for months—that he lives six miles outside of the district—which didn’t bother voters in April. The “prolongued silence” DC mentions was really disbelief. He begins, “Is THAT the question?” as if being given a free shot.

Moreover, while Ossoff simply looked down when Handel talked, Handel figited and looked nervous when Ossoff spoke.

The polls show that Ossoff has overcome the 15-point Republican voter advantage, but only to a tie. Meanwhile, the gamblers are putting money on Ossoff, 58-46 probability (not vote totals).

But it should be noted that the PredictIt site had Hillary as a landslide winner all last fall.

UPDATE—UPDATE—UPDATE

PredictIt, the gambling site, now gives HANDEL the edge–55 to 46. That’s probability, not vote prediction.

In a district where the Republicans typically mop up the floor with their opponent, if the GOP loses this one, Democrats will laugh their Ossoff. But it won’t be just about the Republican candidate’s boring campaign style. The race has been “nationalized,” and Trump is hardly Handel’s “Messiah.”

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Goethe Behr is a Contributing Editor and Moderator at Election Central. He started out posting during the 2008 election, became more active during 2012, and very active in 2016. He has been a political junkie since the 1950s and enjoys adding a historical perspective.

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