On Tuesday, voters will head to the polls in the 6th Congressional District of Georgia to choose a new representative. The choice will be between Karen Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state running under the Republican Party and the Democratic Party candidate, Jon Ossoff. The special election has been touted as one of the most anticipated in recent times with a record high voter turnout in early voting. It is also the most expensive House race in history with spending hitting a tune of about $51 million.
The special election is also seen as the first major referendum on the Trump presidency and in what is already a traditionally Republican District, an Ossoff win will surely rock the boat for the Republican strategy in the upcoming 2016 midterms. The two candidates have already received high-profile endorsements. Samuel L. Jackson, George Takei, and Chelsea Handler are some of the celebrities that have shown their support towards Ossoff. The Democratic Party candidate will also be backed by groups such as the American Nurses Association and the Democracy for America.
On the other hand, Handel has received endorsements from the National Rights to Life with the US Chamber of Commerce also throwing in their support. The Republican candidate has also received backing from high ranking party officials including the president himself, vice president Pence and also house speaker Paul Ryan. Trump is on record drumming up support for the Republican candidate in a tweet sent on Monday. Trump joined in the chorus of “Handel for Congress” saying that she will fight for low taxes, better healthcare, and tighter security. Political analysts have argued though that even with the high-profile endorsements, healthcare will be the determining factor in this election.
According to Rick Tyler, a strategist for the Republican Party, while issues like environmental protection and deficits are important to voters in Georgia, none of them affect locals directly the way health care does. Both candidates have remained in line with their party’s vision of healthcare for Americans. However, there are those who feel that the Democrats will be coming into this special election with an edge. According to Glen Bolger, an opinion pollster for the GOP, the combative nature that Trump and his administration have taken has really galvanized the Democratic opposition and this could have an effect on how the election goes.
Bolder added that Ossoff’s success is largely driven by anger among Democrats and every opportunity to send out a message to the president and his administration is highly welcomed. There is also a trend in the last decade or so that shows that the Party that controls the White House loses the Senate in midterm elections. It happened to George Bush and it also happened to Barack Obama. Ossoff has in particular been praised for his progressive ideas that many analysts say resonate with the people he wants to represent. This puts him in a very good position to claim the victory. However, it will be quite a battle in the coming few hours.