Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Trump slams Ossoff, praises Handel in tweets

Trump slams Ossoff, praises Handel in tweets

The Georgia 6th is an affluent and well-educated district that has elected Newt Gingrich, the former speaker; Johnny Isakson, now Georgia's senior US senator; and most recently Tom Price, who resigned in February to join the administration.

As voters in the northern suburbs of Atlanta go to the polls Tuesday in a special U.S. House election, Democrats and Republicans will closely watch for clues about how to deal with President Donald Trump in next year's congressional races.

What do the polls show?

. While individual donors may not have shown Ossoff level support for Handel, she has benefited from support from outside groups.

His opponent is Karen Handel, a former county official and Georgia secretary of state who has accepted Trump's backing and articulated a fairly typical "God, gays, and guns" campaign-she has made clear her opposition to same-sex adoption, while her allies have attempted to tie Ossoff to the shooting of several Republican lawmakers and aides last week in Washington. It would also give progressives who pumped $23 million into Ossoff's campaign something to celebrate.

Karen Handel, Republican candidate for Georgia's 6th congressional district greets diners during a campaign stop at Old Hickory House in Tucker, Ga., Monday, June 19, 2017.

Even if Ossoff and Parnell were to win, the Democrats would still be far short of the seats needed to win control of the House. What should have been an easy contest for Republicans - the district previously elected former House Speaker Newt Gingrich - is instead the most expensive House race in US history. The election will fill a congressional seat that has been held by a Republican since the 1970s.

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Handel has handled Trump gingerly.

Many of those districts are actually less Republican than Georgia's sixth district. "That's why we're so focused on get out the vote" operations.

Despite Trump's low approval ratings the president expressed support for Handel, 55, in multiple social media posts Monday.

Polls open Tuesday from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm (1100-2300 GMT).

But with Democrats falling short in those races, and the Republican expected to win in SC, all eyes have turned to Georgia.

Ossoff, a 30-year-old political newcomer, aims to win a district that has launched the careers of nationally known Republicans like Newt Gingrich and Tom Price, who vacated the seat to serve as Trump's health secretary.

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Regardless of who wins, both parties will look for clues about who voted, why and whether anti-Trump sentiment has the potential to flip dozens of Republican-held seats to the Democratic column.

"It's not just symbolic - we really can't afford to lose any seats at this point", said Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., noting that "the factions" among congressional Republicans make their majorities more tenuous in practice than they may seem on paper.

Beyond just the Peach State, Democratic strategists are hoping a victory will signal a national trend of disaffected Republicans turned off by Trump's leadership, his response to ongoing Russia-related investigations and his party's new health-care bill to replace the Affordable Care Act. But if you're a conservative who wants to restrict abortion rights and cut taxes, but you vote for Ossoff because you like what he said about bringing more bio-tech jobs to metro Atlanta, you're making a mistake, because he won't be the kind of congressman you want. She welcomed him for a fundraiser in late April, but it was closed. After all, 71 incumbent Republicans sit in districts that are - per the Cook Political Report's partisan voter index - less GOP-leaning than Georgia's 6th District.

But even with that pedigree, Mr Trump barely edged Democrat Hillary Clinton in November, giving Mr Ossoff his opening once Mr Price was confirmed.

Ossoff raised $23.6 million through May, mostly from donors in blue states, compared with $4.3 million raised by Handel, mostly from Georgia, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

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