Georgia's seat in Congress, which once belonged to Newt Gingritch and lately Tom Price, was "supposed to be safely Republican." But Democrat Jon Ossoff is turning heads with his lead in the polls, and may become the first Democrat to hold Georgia's 6th district seat since 1979.
According to Slate, the 30-year-old former congressional aide and documentary producer is up against Bob Gray, a Republican businessman, and about 18 other candidates.
“This is a really important election,” Karen Giorno, former senior advisor for Donald Trump's presidential campaign, said. “It’s becoming a national spotlight, because it’s going to be a referendum on Donald Trump and his presidency.”
If Ossoff wins, it would make history. Republicans in Congress "haven't wanted to break" with Trump because they "fear primary challenges." If Ossoff does end up taking a once Republican seat, that could tip the odds against Trump and the Republican party.
The Democratic party has been very supportive of Ossoff's bid for Congress, and to date he has raised around $8.3 million. With black voters making up around 10% of the vote in Georgia, Ossof and his team are looking to them for support. They even went so far as to put out an advertisement featuring Samuel L. Jackson, asking people to “Remember what happened the last time people stayed home. We got stuck with Trump!” Jackson then references his Pulp Fiction character, “We have to channel the great vengeance and furious anger we have for this administration into votes at the ballot box!”
Ossoff has even rallied Georgia's suberban women, some of whom have never been politically active, to volunteer. These ladies have knocked on so many doors "that even friendly voters complain about overkill."
Back on the presidential campaign trail, Trump only beat Clinton in Georgia's 6th district by 1.5%. The district has the highest population of college graduates in the entire state. This gives Ossoff hope that he can take a seat in Congress.
“That’s one of the reasons that Trump really underperformed relative to the normal Republican vote in that district,” Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz said. “Clearly there are quite a few college-educated independents and even some Republicans who are really turned off by Trump.”
According to FiveThirtyEight, the chances of Ossoff winning the Tuesday election are still slim. The cadidate had about 46% of the vote on April 17, 2017. But that is still far more than Gray's 13% or Karen Handel's 18%. But there's still a chance he could win.
“There’s a good chance that we can get to 50 percent plus one,” Ossoff’s campaign manager Keenan Pontoni told Slate. “We have seen a number of internal polls, and we’ve seen the complete early vote data, and that information really demonstrates that we’re creeping up closely to 50 percent. What will get us over the top is having an expanded electorate.”
Ossoff has gained a mighty following with his "Make Trump Furious" campaign, but it is unclear if that passion will translate to the polls.