Another special election is being held Tuesday, this time in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. Democratic candidate, Jon Ossoff, shocked the state by nearly winning, outright, in the previous election in April. Ossoff barely missed the 50 percent mark, which would have elected him at that time. Now, Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel will have a head-to-head runoff, this Tuesday, June 20.
Ossoff’s strength was amazing, considering that Republican Tom Price, who was re-elected in November, won by an almost 2-to-1 margin in the district. Price left the state to work in the federal administration, setting up the special election. But while Ossoff got the most votes in April, it was partly because he was running against a wide field of 11 Republicans. They split the vote. Remember that Price had won 62 percent to just 38 percent for the Democrat in November.
In the preview, we noted that Donald Trump would not have brought Price into his administration if he had thought he might lose a seat.
One odd angle, according to Breitbart, is that Ossoff doesn’t even live in the district!
According to the Constitution, you only need to be a resident of the state to represent any district in that state. Still, tradition and common sense has made it a virtual requirement to reside in the district which you represent, that is, until the rise of the nationalized local election.
Current polls put Ossoff between tied and three percent ahead of Republican Karen Handel—within the margin of error, so it’s still a toss-up at this point, according to Breitbart.
A poll of the hotly contested special election in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District to replace Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) shows that Jon Ossoff, the Democrat, leads Republican Karen Handel by three points. . .
The race has become the most expensive in American political history. Ossoff has raised over $23 million, while Handel has raised about $4.5 million, according to Federal Election filings covering the period ending on May 31. In addition, a number of SuperPACs and other organizations have spent money on behalf or against both candidates.
Breitbart had earlier reported on the poll that showed a tie.
The poll was disappointing news for Ossoff, as 11Alive.com reported:
Three weeks ago, an 11Alive/SurveyUSA poll had Ossoff 7 points ahead of Handel. This latest poll includes fewer high-school educated and fewer lower-income respondents than did the previous survey.
Of course, politics change on a day-to-day basis. Ossoff has dropped from a 7 point lead to even, and now, there’s a question of whether the recent shooting episode might tilt the public to the conservative view. We should note that that did not happen in Britain, where a terrorist act did not push voters toward Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May’s party. Still, Breitbart wonders if it will make a difference in Georgia.
The poll, conducted by the Republican Trafalgar Group, was completed on Tuesday evening before Wednesday morning’s shooting of Rep. Steven Scalise (R-LA), staffers, a lobbyist, and two Capitol Hill Police at a Republican Congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.
It is unclear what impact that shooting will have on the outcome of the election, which will be held next Tuesday. . .
News of the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), several staffers, and two members of the Capitol Police at a practice of the Republican Congressional baseball team at a field in Alexandria, Virginia on Wednesday morning shocked both campaigns.
Both candidates have reported violent threats against them.
Democrat Jon Ossoff issued a statement Thursday saying that threats against the campaign have intensified in recent days and were reported to police. Ossoff did not describe the nature of the threats. “These events speak to the need to redouble commitment to civility and unity,” the campaign stated.
His Republican rival, Karen Handel, reported Thursday that several of her neighbors received packages and envelopes containing an unknown white powder. “The packages contained threatening letters and a suspicious substance. The police were quickly notified and [the] street is now being blocked off,” Handel wrote on her Facebook account.
Business channel CNBC says that Democrats have taken a new approach in Georgia: The “sensible Democrat.”
Ossoff, a political newcomer who launched his congressional campaign in the Republican-leaning northern suburbs of Atlanta by urging supporters to “make Trump furious,” now speaks in the measured tones of a moderate consensus builder and rarely mentions the president by name.
Local economic development and cutting wasteful government spending are Ossoff’s talking points in a race against Republican Karen Handel that has shattered records as the most expensive congressional contest in U.S. history. Polls show it is headed for a tight finish in Tuesday’s special election. . .
While voters’ concerns about the administration have grown, he said, “Fundamentally what folks are looking for is representation that will work across the aisle to deliver a higher quality of life.”. . .
“He’s done a good job of positioning himself as a sensible Democrat,” he said. “He doesn’t need to tell voters what is wrong with Trump — people see the drama and the problems every day.”
That approach may play well among the well-educated voters in the 6th District, as we noted in February:
Trump struggled largely because the district is highly educated — 60 percent of people 25 or older in the district have a college degree, compared with just 31 percent nationally. Mitt Romney won this district by over 20 percentage points in 2012, but Trump underperformed across the country with college-educated voters compared to previous Republican nominees. . .
CNBC noted the contrast between “reasonable Democrat” Ossoff and the hyper-partisan Trump.
Trump, who visited Georgia to raise money for Handel in late April, is watching closely. On Twitter, he criticized Ossoff, and after Ossoff was forced into a runoff he crowed that Democrats “failed in Kansas and are now failing in Georgia.” Trump called the race “Hollywood vs. Georgia.”
All of the special elections this year have been in “safe” Republican districts. But in each case, the Democrat lost by just a few percent, instead of the 20 or 30 percent Republican landslide that should be expected. Democrats will consider a close loss as a defeat for Trump, but a Democratic win will be impossible for Republicans to rationalize away.