In a key special election contest some say reflects where the parties stand nationally, the Democrats are on the brink of an unlikely victory.
According to recent polls, Democrat Jon Ossoff holds a narrow lead over former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel for Georgia’s 6th congressional district.
The fact that campaign spending has totaled over $40 million demonstrates the importance of the race for both parties.
If the Democrats win, the GOP Trump hangover is real and districts that once appeared unattainably red are in play.
“A victory for Jon means we’re going to take the House. The path he’s taking to win is replicable in districts that are like his but not quite as hard,” Democratic Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams, who’s running for governor, told the Daily News.
This isn’t the typical southern Democratic district. Located just outside of Atlanta, its suburban, well-educated, wealthy, and historically dark red, but Trump barely won it.
“I think you have to be very concerned about it. This is the south, it’s a suburban seat, it’s upper middle class. If these seats are competitive it doesn’t bode well… we could lose the House,” said GOP strategist Chip Lake.
But the Trump victory opened a new political dimension, and voting patterns are changing to the point that they are altering the electoral map, even for the once unpopular mid terms.
“People I know who usually don’t pay attention to politics, who didn’t even vote in the presidential race, are talking about this race down here,” said Atlanta-based Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson.
Whats left is one of the most intriguing special elections in the history of American politics, with a majority hanging in the balance, and a feel for the national position of both parties. Stakes that are far larger than the candidates.
“This race is about more than what either of them are doing,” said Lake. “It seems to be completely nationalized.”
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