Early-voter turnout signals intense interest in Georgia special election

Early-voter turnout signals intense interest in Georgia special election
© Karen Handel, Getty Images

More than 140,000 ballots were cast in Georgia's special House race when early voting closed Friday, Politico reported, a signal of the intense local interest that has mounted around the contest in recent months.

By comparison, roughly 57,000 people voted early in the election's first round in April. The massive turnout of early voters, which includes more than 36,000 people who did not cast ballots in the first round, means that turnout for the Tuesday election will more than likely exceed the roughly 192,000 people who voted in April.

What's more, Politico reported, the turnout for the special election could easily surpass that of the 2014 midterm election.

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The House race for Georgia's 6th congressional district has garnered significant attention, not just on the local level, but on the national stage, and is seen by many as an early referendum on President Trump and an indicator of Republicans' ability to hold key House seats in the 2018 midterms.

The matchup between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel has also quickly become the most expensive House race in U.S. history, with roughly $50 million spent.

The district has long been held by Republicans, most recently Tom Price, who left the House seat to become Trump's Health and Human Services secretary.

But Ossoff, a first-time candidate for public office, took more than 48 percent of the vote in April – less than two percent short of an outright win. That fact sent both parties scrambling to win over voters ahead of the June 20 election.