A Georgia congressional special election happens in nine days for the seat once occupied by Republican Tom Price, and Democrats hope a win with a young former congressional staffer will help reenergize their party after a devastating 2016 election.
Trump appointed Price to be Sec. of Health and Human Services leaving the seat vacant, and the April 18 special election jungle primary may determine who will represent Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, a district once represented by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. However, Georgia’s jungle primary rules mandate that if no one receives above 50 percent, the top two vote getters, regardless of party, will go to a runoff in June.
The primary includes one Democrat and four Republicans in the race. A new poll released by 11Alive News and conducted by SurveyUSA shows Democrat Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old, with 43 percent support of likely voters, while Republicans Karen Handel garners 15 percent, Bob Gray earned 14 percent, and Dan Moody picked up 4 percent. The remaining candidates together make up 15 percent, and another 7 percent are undecided voters.
“It’s a bellwether for what the Democratic Party is going to be about,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez told KTLA 5 last week.
According to KTLA, 300 people turned out to a Democratic breakfast last month in Cobb County, when the party elected Perez chairman in nearby Atlanta.
Democrats have already raised $8.3 million for Ossoff’s campaign. Gingrich, along with the Republican National Committee, sent out emails Sunday afternoon asking donors to give to the party to fend off Democrats from potentially picking up a seat that Republicans have held since 1979.
“There’s no one here who’s over-promising anything, because we recognize that this is still very challenging terrain,” Perez told KTLA. “But we’re working with the state party to build up our capacity and while we don’t get involved in primaries, obviously, we are working and we will eventually be making an investment in this race to help another Democrat and to hold Trump accountable.”
“Every election cycle, the Washington media has this idea that this is the year Georgia could be changing,” Gingrich responded. “And every election, it turns out not to be.”