Georgia race finally heads to voters; DC watching closely

5 things to watch in Georgia's special election

The battle for the 6th district seat once held by ex-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has consumed both parties in recent weeks, becoming the most expensive House race in USA history. Despite the efforts of the nation's hard-working hot-take writers, the outcome of this election will not determine the fate of either the Republican or Democratic parties, either this year, next year, or in 2020.

Voters in the southern US state of Georgia are choosing their new representative in the House of Representatives on Tuesday in a special election that is being closely watched as a test of Republican strength under the Trump administration and the party's prospects of holding its majority in House next year.

"They're just going to have to dissect it to figure out exactly what occurred, what is translatable to other elections coming up", she said.

65 - The total number of days this race lasted from the day Price resigned from the House, a marathon for a special election. That fact, and the closeness of the contest, has pulled attention and dollars to Georgia with a relentless gravitational tug.

In what has become the most expensive House race in USA history, Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel are expected to go down to the wire in the district.

What's odd, though, is that neither candidate has seemed eager to do so.

Ossoff's inexperience has opened him to criticisms. "Cut the wasteful spending".

Republican Party leaders thought having total control of Washington would end the gridlock of the Obama years.

His Republican opponent is 55-year-old Karen Handel, Georgia's former secretary of state. While Trump did a private fundraiser for her, she wants voters to know she's no rubber stamp.

If Ossoff wins this conservative district, which was once represented by Newt Gingrich, the result will be far more than just one fewer vote for Republicans in the House. "I'm not an extension of the White House".

Fulton County is Handel's home turf - she began her political career on the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. "What does she lose early voting by?"

Polls have a notoriously tough time with special elections and their unpredictable electorates, but they show the vote just about tied, with perhaps a slight edge for Ossoff. While the district usually votes Republican, she has a lot more ground to make up than Ossoff does.

Ossoff has campaigned as a centrist focused on reducing the deficit, cutting spending and bringing high-tech jobs to Atlanta. Greg Williams, a local GOP county chair and Handel volunteer told ABC he thought some "alt-left supporters" were doing "damage to the democratic brand". And to be honest, the 6th district isn't exactly crying out for economic transformation - it's already exceedingly well-educated and well-off. He does not reside in the district he would be representing if he won. It is hard to know what effect that kind of money has on a race like this. In the partisan time in which we live, it's less important than ever. Like the other 434, it has unique qualities and a distinct history.

Even a Trump Cabinet member and former Georgia governor, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, acknowledged the conundrum at a recent Handel rally, saying "some Republicans" are "turned off" by the president.

Many have their eye on reclaiming a Democratic majority in the House in 2018. Bernie Sanders' liberal wing of the party concerned that the Democratic establishment is recruiting and running too many moderates - and the establishment anxious that Sanders' insurgency could view a loss as proof the party needs to embrace a much more aggressive, populist, Sanders-like message.

And there's nothing wrong with that. Dem Ossoff will raise your taxes-very bad on crime & 2nd A. Supporters of both candidates who cast votes early Tuesday morning said that divide made the contest emotional; several were relieved the race was almost over after weeks of door knocks from the campaigns and a bevy of television ads. Both will be overstating things.

Their clash in Georgia's 6th Congressional District has become a proxy for the national political atmosphere and a test of GOP strength early in Donald Trump's presidency. As well they should.


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