In Georgia, a cacophony of arguments could tilt House race

Posted June 20, 2017

Democrats are anxious that they could lose the extremely close Georgia special election runoff to replace former Rep. Tom Price.

Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff take to the debate stage in Georgia on June 6, 2017.

"The leftists have gone and typecast, and they've picked this young man - charismatic, articulate - and they've taught him a few Republican buzzwords", Perdue told Handel supporters.

"We can not let up".

Across town, a boisterous crowd dominated by millennials chants "Flip the 6th!". "Because moderates and independents in this district are exhausted of left-wing extremism".

On the final night before voting, though, he played to the base.

Then he offered a list of priorities sure to rouse any liberal. The trend lines are looking good for us. It is the most expensive congressional race in history, with over $50 million spent, mostly from out-of-state donors.

Tuesday's runoff election between Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff, who are vying for the suburban Atlanta seat recently vacated by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, has attracted the attention of outside groups and leaders in both national parties.

More than 140,000 voters have cast early ballots, suggesting total turnout will exceed a typical midterm election. "In order to win the House back we have to win in districts that are gerrymandered for Republicans, so [special elections like this one are] laboratories for us to figure out what's the best way to mobilize this vote", Democratic National Committee Associate Chair Jaime Harrison told Politico.

Republicans see an opportunity to squelch Democratic enthusiasm. The election on April 18th will fill the congressional seat that has been held by a Republican since the 1970s. The seat has been Republican for four decades. The most recent polling data gives Ossoff a slight edge in a district that sent Newt Gingrich to Washington and that re-elected Price in November.

A spokeswoman for Handel condemned the ad, saying it was "disturbing and disgusting", according to a statement obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Trump weighed in on Twitter late Monday, attacking Ossoff for living just outside the district.

Not all that money, of course, came from within the suburban Atlanta district, or even from the state. That being said, "Ossoff [is] ahead by a not-very-safe margin of about 2 percentage points".

Special congressional elections in Kansas and Montana - also to replace Republicans who joined Trump's team - were seen as a chance for Democrats to score first strikes against the administration. Handel, on the other hand, hasn't fully embraced Trump, but she hasn't fully rejected him, either. As for the threatening letter she received, Handel said it made her "more determined than ever". "I needed to do something to change it". An image of the majority whip on a stretcher is shown (Kathy Griffin and the severed head later make an appearance) as a voice narrates, "The unhinged left is endorsing and applauding shooting Republicans". Handel notes that many of those people live in Democratic-leaning states like California, New York and MA.