Monday, April 3, 2017

A Call To Action: A Review of the Special Elections -- and How You Can Help Flip a GOP Seat in Georgia

In the latest in Wendy's "A Call to Action" series, Tom provides an update on the five House of Representative special elections, with a call to help Jon Ossoff pull off an upset win in Georgia's 6th district.

Donald Trump named four GOP members of the House of Representatives to Cabinet positions (Mick Mulvaney, Mike Pompeo, Tom Price and Ryan Zinke); in addition, a Democrat representative from California (Xavier Bacerra) was named that state’s Attorney General.  In the coming months, there will be five special elections to fill those open seats in the House.

Four of them figure to be straightforward, with the nominee from the appointee’s party expected to win handily.  But there is one intriguing election, where the Dems have a decent chance to flip a seat, which could be interpreted as an early referendum on the Trump Presidency.

We are putting this in the “A Call to Action” series because we can all help Jon Ossoff (D) in his attempt to win Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, which is Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price’s old seat (and Newt Gingrich’s as well).

Before we get into the details of these elections, here is a handy summary chart of the five seats.

Primary Run-off
General Election
Nov. 2016 Outcome
Trump vs   Clinton
Pompeo (R)
Apr 11
61/30  R+31
60/33  R+27
Zinke (R)
May 25
56/41  R+15
56/36  R+20
Bacerra (D)
Apr 4
Jun 6
77/23 D+100 (D v D)
84/11  D+73
Price (R)
Apr 18
Jun 20
62/38  R+23
48/47  R+1
Mulvaney (R)
May 2
May 16
Jun 20
59/39  R+20
57/39  R+18

We won’t spend time on the four elections that are not likely to be hotly contested.  California’s 34th, where the primary is tomorrow and the general election is June 6, will certainly stay with the Democrats; as it happens, in the November 2016 election, won by Bacerra, the runner-up was a Democrat as well.

Kansas’s 4th, Montana’s At-Large and South Carolina’s 5th are almost certainly going to remain within the GOP (although we will keep an eye on Montana, which at times can be a wild card).  So let’s move on to Georgia’s 6th.

The main reason for the Democrat’s optimism is Hillary Clinton’s strong showing in the district in 2016 relative to that of Barack Obama in 2012 and 2008.  As the chart shows, she lost to Trump by only a single point, 48/47.  Obama, on the other hand, was defeated by 18 points by John McCain in 2008 and 23 points by Mitt Romney in 2012.  And even though Tom Price won again in November 2016 by a comfortable margin (+23), that margin was slightly tighter this go-round than his wins in 2014 (+32) and 2012 (+29).  All of this, plus the rather disastrous start to the Trump administration and Price’s own failure as a key player in the “replace and repeal Obamacare” debacle, have led to Dem optimism that they can win here.

That wish has descended, in the form of on-the-ground volunteers and through-the-wire millions of dollars, upon a youthful (age 30) political novice, Jon Ossoff.  Ossoff is a Georgetown grad, a former Capitol Hill aide and an investigative filmmaker who suddenly finds himself in the vortex of, essentially,  the opening salvo of the mid-terms. 

Georgia’s 6th is comprised primarily of northern Atlanta suburbs, which have higher median incomes than the state as a whole as well as greater educational attainment.  It also has a reasonably significant minority population, roughly 25%.

This will likely be a two-part race, with the primary on April 18 and the General Election on June 20.  A whopping 18 candidates will be on the primary ballot, consisting of five Democrats, 11 Republicans and two Independents.  Of the Democrats, only Ossoff has any traction, and no single Republican dominates their field.  The splintered GOP field is another opportunity, since it means Ossoff has a chance to capture the primary headlines with a win.  The top two finishers, regardless of party, will move on to the general, unless one of the field happens to secure the magic 50%+ mark, in which case there will be no general.

In two recent (mid-March) polls, Ossoff led the field with an impressive 40%.  Overall, though, the Dems have only 41-44% of the total vote, while the GOP has in the 48-50% range.  Theoretically, the GOP leader in the primary could consolidate the GOP vote in the general and beat Ossoff.  But there is also the possibility that Ossoff could snag the required 50% in the primary, or he could win in the general based on the momentum generated by winning the primary.

So this is where we come in.  Even us out-of-staters.

How to get involved?

You can, as I did, sign up as a volunteer at this site below, and offer, if you are an out-of-stater, to make phone calls:

You can also contribute to his campaign here:

Let’s try to get a head start on 2018 with a win in 2017!

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