Georgia special election breaks spending record

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

The battle between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel has drawn national attention in recent weeks, as both parties fight to take the district previously held by Tom Price, who President Trump 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.


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.

Tags Donald Trump Georgia georgia special election Jon Ossoff Karen Handel

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