Republicans and Democrats are scrambling to fill the seat vacated by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, setting up one clown car of a primary:
Eleven Republican candidates – David Abroms, Mohammad Ali Bhuiyan, Keith Grawert, Bob Gray, Karen Handel, Judson Hill, Amy Kremer, Bruce LeVell, William Llop, Dan Moody, and Kurt Wilson – qualified for the seat. Alexander Hernandez and Andre Pollard qualified as Independent candidates. Five Democrats – Ragin Edwards, Richard Keatley, Jon Ossoff, Rebecca Quigg, and Ron Slotin – also qualified for the seat.
The district, which voted for Trump by only 1% and is a top target of Democrats this year, features a sea of Republican and Democratic candidates, with the top two advancing to a general election.
Clout Research released the first poll out of the district Monday. Clout is a Republican firm with Wenzel at its helm, and the AJC read between the lines with the poll’s release and concluded it was meant to help fund-raise for the Republicans by showing them as underdogs. Big grain of salt taken, let’s go through what it found.
Per Clout, Democrat Jon Ossoff leads the pack of surveyed candidates with 31.7%. Republican Karen Handel earns 24.9%, followed by Republican Bob Gray at 10.6%, and Republican Judson Hill at 9.2%. Republican candidates polled combine for a total of 47.9%, with a fifth of respondents backing someone else or not sure of their vote.
The survey also asked how voters felt about President Trump’s use of Twitter. While 42.5% felt it was a “helpful bypass”, 57.5% called it an “undermining distraction.” Still, the same voters view the President favorably, 57.5% to 41.9% and have a favorable opinion of former Representative Tom Price, 61.3% to 37.2%.
If Clout’s poll is accurate, and the voters in this district like the President as much as is implied, probable Republican nominee Handel should have little problem defeating Ossoff. Even with Trump barely carrying the district, Tom Price won re-election handily, over performing the President by twenty-two points:
We’ll need to wait for additional numbers out of the district before we can start to get an idea of how this race will shake out.