The hotly contested special election primary to replace now Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price is less than a month away (April 18th) and Democrats have high hopes that Jon Ossoff will flip the suburban Atlanta district to them.
But even Ossoff’s Republican adversaries marvel about his campaign’s field operations and the more than $3 million he’s raised in 10 weeks — and worry about their own fractured field of 11 GOP candidates battling each other for their own slice of the electorate.
All 18 candidates in the race are on the same ballot, and if none get a majority of the vote, the top two vote-getters will square off in a June 20 runoff. Some worry Ossoff could win the race, upending the national debate about President Donald Trump’s popularity in one of the first votes since his election.
“If we have 65 percent of the GOP vote and spread it out over 11 candidates — do the math,” Michael Fitzgerald, the district’s GOP chairman, said in sobering remarks to Republicans at a recent forum. “The question is: Are we going to resist these outsiders taking over our district?”
Lifting Democratic hopes is a new poll out today showing Ossoff with a commanding lead over the split Republican field.
The survey, which ran from March 15-16, found that Ossoff has increased his support among Congressional District 6 voters from 32 percent to 41 percent. Former Republican Secretary of State Karen Handel now only has a marginal edge over former Johns Creek City Councilman Bob Gray, as both effectively tie at 16 percent.
Former Republican State Senator Judson Hill remains solid with nine percent support, while former Republican State Senator Dan Moody bumped up to five percent. Trump’s National Diversity Coalition leader, Bruce LeVell, dropped to less than one percent.
That poll stands in sharp contrast to one release just over 10 days ago by the Trafalgar Group which found a very different race.
The second question voters were asked their preferred candidate in the Congressional District 6 race, the results were, 18.31% Jon Ossoff (D), 17.98% Karen Handel (R), 13.42% Bob Gray (R), 7.98% Judson Hill (R), 3.05% Amy Kremer (R), 2.82% Ron Slotin (D), 2.11% Dan Moody (R), 0.45% Bruce LeVell (R), while 33.90% were supporting another candidate or were undecided. TFG conducted this survey of 450+ respondents from a random stratified selection of likely 2017 special Congressional election voters. The margin of error is +/- 4.5.
Republicans had been expected to rally around Handle but that’s not happened at this point.
On the endorsement front, the big-name backing was for Judson Hill by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, the favorite of the Sixth District in the 2016 Republican presidential primary with 39 percent of the vote. Rubio said: “Judson Hill is the only conservative Republican in this race who can win — and he’s a proven leader who can help us get our nation back on the right track after eight years of the Obama administration.”
Handel picked up backing from the national pro-life Susan B. Anthony List as “a fearless champion of unborn children and their mothers,” citing Handel’s stand against Planned Parenthood before leaving her job with the Susan G. Komen Foundation.