In Georgia, a cacophony of arguments could tilt House race

House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise on Capitol Hill in 2015

Republican candidate Karen Handel for Georgia's 6th Congressional District special election talks to supporters during a campaign stop at Santino's Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Health Secretary Tom Price - who left the Georgia House seat to join Trump's Cabinet - urged voters to have a "crazy turnout" on Handel's behalf. He led an April primary but fell shy of an outright majority. Ultimately, more than 192,000 people voted in the primary - close to the 210,000 who participated in the 2014 midterm election in the district.

"He's a phony. I think he's been coached up", says McCleary, arguing Handel would cast reliably conservative votes.

What is shaping up as the most expensive House race in USA history is down to its final days in Georgia.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, a former two-term Georgia governor, took sharp aim at Handel's opponent in Tuesday's congressional runoff election, 30-year-old Ossoff, who has raised more than $23 million from people around the country hoping for a victory that could turn the tide on Trump.

The WSB-Landmark Communications survey showed Democrat Jon Ossoff with 49.7 percent, while GOP Karen Handel has 48 percent; 2.3 percent said they're still undecided ahead of Tuesday's special election.

That reality, though, is no surprise in the district, which encompasses much of Atlanta's northern suburbs. Trump only bested Hillary Clinton by 1.5 percentage points - a result that fed into Democrats' belief that while Trump had made gains in predominantly white rural and exurban areas, the more highly educated, wealthy, diverse suburbs held more Romney-Clinton voters and presented the party with an opportunity to make gains.

For Handel, Ossoff's "values are 3,000 miles away in San Francisco", the hometown of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. In particular, Republicans have hammered Ossoff on national security issues.

Ossoff, a documentary filmmaker and former congressional aide, has aimed at the center, studiously avoiding even mentioning Trump's name.

Early voting ended Friday.

But he's financed that message with a fundraising haul from outside the district, and his donor list contains far more addresses from California, New York and MA than from Georgia.

Republicans, weighed down by Trump's growing unpopularity, must demonstrate they can separate themselves from the president enough to hold suburban districts that only now are becoming battlegrounds.



Other news