What It Means If a 30-Year-Old Democrat Wins in Georgia

Vote seen as measure of Trump's support
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2017 5:29 AM CDT
Updated Apr 18, 2017 6:16 AM CDT
Georgia Votes in Closely Watched Special Election
Eighteen candidates, including the ones seen in this compilation of campaign advertisements, are running in a special election on Tuesday, April 18, 2017.   (AP Photo/Alex Sanz)

Is President Trump leaking support among GOP stalwarts? And do the Democrats have a chance of retaking the House next year? Analysts say answers to these questions might emerge in Georgia's special election Tuesday, where Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old former congressional staffer, has taken the lead among 18 candidates for the House seat vacated by Health Secretary Tom Price. The state's 6th Congressional District, which includes Atlanta's northern suburbs, has been considered a "safe" GOP seat for decades, and an Ossoff win could deliver a major shakeup to the political landscape, CNN reports. A roundup of developments:

  • President Trump weighed in on the race Monday morning, tweeting: "The super Liberal Democrat in the Georgia Congressioal [sic] race tomorrow wants to protect criminals, allow illegal immigration and raise taxes!"

  • With 11 Republicans among the 18 candidates, Ossoff's best chance of winning will be to get 50% Tuesday, avoiding a runoff election that will put GOP support solidly behind one candidate, analysts say. FiveThirtyEight looks at his chances against leading Republican candidates Karen Handel, Bob Gray, Dan Moody, and Judson Hill. Four other Democrats and two independents are also on the ballot.
  • The AP reports that money from outside the state has poured into the race, including most of the $8.3 million in Ossoff's war chest. The GOP has been running ads trying to link Ossoff to Nancy Pelosi.
  • The Atlanta Journal-Constitution looks at trends to watch for in the election, including Ossoff's success with two groups of voters he has targeted: millennials and college-educated women.
  • The Hill reports that four voting machines have been reported stolen from a precinct manager's vehicle in Cobb County, though officials say there's no danger of the election being compromised.
  • The Washington Post looks at what the election means for a Republican Party going through an "identity crisis." "Having 11 people on our side is like eating our young," says GOP Sen. David Perdue.
(More special election stories.)

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