Georgia special election breaks spending record
© Getty

Georgia's special election has set a new record spending record for a House race, Politico reported Saturday.

The battle between Democrat Jon OssoffJon OssoffOssoff sworn in on Hebrew Bible from synagogue bombed by white supremacists in the 1950s Dershowitz: Senate should dismiss impeachment article since Trump is private citizen The Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' MORE and Republican Karen HandelKaren Christine HandelOssoff defeats Perdue in Georgia Senate runoff McBath wins rematch against Handel in Georgia House race House Democrats' campaign arm reserves .6M in ads in competitive districts MORE has drawn national attention in recent weeks, as both parties fight to take the district previously held by Tom Price, who President TrumpDonald TrumpMcCarthy says he told Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene he disagreed with her impeachment articles against Biden Biden, Trudeau agree to meet next month Trump planned to oust acting AG to overturn Georgia election results: report MORE tapped to be Health and Human Services secretary.

So far, outside groups and candidate committees have purchased $29.7 million in television ads, surpassing the previous record of $29.6 million set in Florida in 2012, according to Politico. What's more, they're paying millions more for radio ads, fliers and get-out-the-vote efforts, the paper noted.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ossoff, a 30-year-old who has never before held public office, came within 2 points of an outright win in an initial vote last month, but fell just short of the 50 percent needed. Handel, competing with a crowded field of Republicans, took just under 20 percent of the vote.

The two will go head to head in a runoff election on June 20.

A victory in the race to represent Georgia's 6th district – part of the Atlanta suburbs – is highly valued for both Democrats and Republicans.

Democrats are hoping to seize on Trump's historically low approval ratings and early controversies in office. The party was further energized after a closer-than-expected race in Kansas' 4th district – an area that Trump won in November by 27 points.

While the Democrat in that contest ultimately lost the election by less than 7 points, the party ultimately viewed it as a sign of momentum and has sought to transfer that energy to the Georgia race.

For Republicans, on the other hand, the George special election represents a chance to hold onto a House seat that has remained in GOP hands for decades. If Handel wins the seat in the district's runoff election next month, it would also serve to reinforce the party's hopes for the 2018 midterm elections.

Democrats are facing a tough Senate electoral map in 2018, and have increasingly turned their attention to House races, where party leaders have voiced confidence in the party's ability to pick up contested seats currently held by Republican candidates.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super-PAC aligned with House GOP leadership, has vowed to spend $6.5 million on the race before the June 20 vote.

Ossoff's campaign has subsisted mainly on small-dollar online donations, and he could benefit from a massive bout of fundraising by outside groups, like Swing Left, which announced on Friday that it had raised more than $1 million after the House approved a plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare a day earlier.

Updated at 4:37 p.m.