Handel, Ossoff call on help in final days of Georgia race

Congressional Baseball Game breaks records for fundraising ticket sales

The race between Ossoff and Handel remains a close one. Ossoff finished with 48 percent of the vote, falling just short of winning the special election outright, compared to Handel's 20 percent. Handel, 55, is a well-known former board chairwoman of the state's most populous county, Fulton, and also a former Georgia secretary of state.

Handel previously launched unsuccessful primary bids for Georgia governor and for the U.S. Senate. While typical turnout during off-year special elections is notoriously low, Georgia's 6th District special election on April 18 (which decided who was in this month's runoff) topped 37 percent - almost 194,000 people voted.

Q: Why should anyone care about a US House race in Georgia?

The eye-popping spending has simply raised the stakes in the contest, drawing even more media attention and, inevitably, more prognosticating on what the outcome means for congressional races in 2018.

Even though the more liberal wing of the party wants to pull Democrats left, they are facing a lot of races with traditionally more conservative voters.

Democrat Jon Ossoff has focused less on having big-name Democrats campaign for him, but did bring in civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (R-GA) for an event on Saturday. Ossoff has said "history will condemn us" for doing so.

"Stop Jon Ossoff. Stop Nancy Pelosi".

I don't know about you, but it kind of puts things in perspective for me.

Still, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent almost $5 million on TV ads boosting his campaign or slamming Handel, while other left-leaning groups chipped in about $1 million more. The 70-year-old retiree said she has knocked on potential voters' doors every week since March for Ossoff's campaign, motivated by her fears about Trump's election and his approach to health care, immigration and education.

Ossoff, 30, initially drew national attention with the slogan "Make Trump Furious", inspiring volunteers from as far away as OR to knock on doors and make phone calls for him. If a district where Trump won by a narrow margin in November switches parties, that could scare some House members, as well as senators in swing states, away from their lockstep support for the administration.

But an Ossoff victory would indicate that it's quite the opposite - which could function as a general consensus on whether President Donald Trump's performance in the White House is trashing the GOP's national image.

Brad Carver, who's the GOP Chair in a neighboring district (not the one that Ossoff and Handel are battling for), dropped an unsavory reference regarding the recent congressional baseball field shooting that hospitalized House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and others.

The narrative that emerges from the election will have more important political consequences on Capitol Hill than the outcome of the vote itself. In an interview with CNN, he said he was temporarily living a mile and a half outside the district to help support his girlfriend attending medical school at nearby Emory University, but plans to move back. ABC affiliate WSB-TV later reported that the substance turned out to be baking soda.

An aggressive air campaign by Handel and allied groups, targeting Ossoff and his national security record, could be moving the needle.

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