GA06 is going down to the wire. All credible public polling has the race rated as an absolute toss up. Right now, Ossoff has to be the favorite. Debates aside, Ossoff’s campaign seems to be controlling the campaign narrative and energy. In tight races, let alone special elections, those two factors are absolutely essential.
The national media will say that the race is a referendum on Trump, his policies,
But, this narrative is absolutely false in my opinion. The real facts dictate that Georgia 6 is the third highest Democrat-trending GOP-held seat. Trump won the district by one point and only accumulated 48% of the votes. The notion that Trump was popular in Georgia 6th is totally false.
When we look at why Ossoff is succeeding in GA06, it is quite clear. Ossoff is very well funded (not that Handel isn’t), but more notably, he is playing into a trend that’s proliferating in his favor. During a normal midterm election, Ossoff would be likely defeated by Handel because national Democrat money and energy would be spread across the country. Ossoff has received more money from the 9 counties surrounding San Francisco than from the entire state of Georgia.
So, what does this mean? It means that Ossoff is benefiting from national Democrat anger and money. The concentration of being the only special election that’ll be in play for the foreseeable future means that all Democrat resources funnel in because they simply aren’t going to win special elections in Alabama Senate, SC05 and UT03. GA06 is already the most expensive House race of all time. Take a look at Ossoff’s FEC filings, and you’ll quickly see what I am talking about.
This brings me to my point. GA06 is an extenuating circumstance in that if there were several special elections in play, Ossoff’s chance of victory would decrease significantly.
In nature, special elections are “special” in that they see depressed turnout, they’re open seats, and sometimes, you’ll see upsets. Let’s look at Montana.
Trump won Montana by 20 points in November. In the special House race there, Greg Gianforte beat Rob Quist after body slamming a reporter, 6 to 7 points. Polling in the race was already trending towards the Democrats in the final weeks of the race before Gianforte committed his massive blunder. He still won by 6 points. Gianforte was a weak candidate to being with, as was Quist. Turnout was quite high for a special election, and now he’s the next member of Congress from the great state of Montana. His victory was never truly in serious doubt.
With this in mind, examining what we can pull from these facts, it proves that these special elections, and all special elections, are only viable to dictate public opinion in a snapshot of a specific place and time.
If progressive Ossoff wins GA06, it isn’t worrisome because of what it means about the overall political climate, but rather the effects down the line for the rest of the election cycle.
The Democrats need significant gains in the House of Representatives to formidably obstruct President Trump and the GOP agenda, which they desperately thirst for. They will be hoping for a wave, in which they decisively wrestle control from the GOP. There is a real possibility that this may happen, and the Democratic national establishment and elites are gearing up for the race. But are the grassroots?
Let’s be honest. You need money to win post-Citizens United elections. But you still need people to get out and vote. In 2010, when the Tea Party wave retook control of Congress and picked up 79 seats, not only did GOP have an essential monopoly on energy, but they were well funded. There’s no question that the Democrats are ready to open their pocketbooks to compete. However, they are significantly behind in early national fundraising totals, and the lawsuit against the DNC could set them back even further.
Nationally, only 1/6 of congressional districts are in play during any given cycle, and even then, the incumbency advantage carries the currently seated representative. Rural Democrats won’t be able to pick up safe GOP seats, where support for Trump is very high, and Democrats can’t pick up those seats, even if they poll 10 points better than an average Democrat would do.
There are GOP seats that will be lost, such as Illeana Ros-Lehtinen in FL27, with strong incumbents retiring in districts with significant demographic changes since they first won their seats. There will be many toss-ups that will be fought to the death. There are seats that the GOP should win but may lose.
GA06 sets the energy going into the remainder of the cycle. If Ossoff and the Democrats win the race, they’ll derive that this is a significant victory in stopping Trump’s agenda. The national mainstream media will conveniently leave out the facts listed above when they claim that results dictate a referendum on Trump. The national mainstream media is vehemently anti-Trump (let’s not sugar coat the situation), and wants to obstruct his agenda and the GOP agenda. If the Democrats win the race, they’ll deduce confidence that getting involved in grassroots organizing and “resisting” does have some benefit, which will lead to greater obstacles for GOP incumbents and candidates in winning their respective races.
If Handel and the GOP win the seat, as they likely would during a normal midterm general election, this will crush the National mainstream media narrative of the referendum on Trump. They will see that despite their efforts nationally and in the district, and their part in making the Georgia 6 the most expensive House election all time, they still lost.
The stakes are incredibly high. Both sides must win for very different reasons. Handel must turn out older voters if she is to win. Ossoff needs every single voter he can get. Ultimately, the votes cast on June 20th could set the pace for the rest of the election cycle.