The latest poll, conducted by Landmark Communications for WSB-TV (disclosure: Erick works for WSB radio) has GOP candidate Karen Handel up by 2.6 points–inside the 4 point MOE–over Democrat Jon Ossoff for the Georgia 6th CD seat formerly occupied by HHS Secretary Tom Price.
— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) May 5, 2017
The runoff election takes place June 20th in what should be a heavily Republican district.
“There were more Republicans that actually voted, or more people who voted Republican I should say, and they’re now getting behind Handel in bigger numbers. And she has now taken the lead in the race. It’s a small lead, but she has taken a small lead,” Rountree said.
Here’s the problem: why is this race so close? Democrats would love to have you believe it’s a referendum on President Trump. It’s true that Trump didn’t do so well among Republicans in the 6th CD, but Handel isn’t Trump’s candidate (the Trumpiest candidate, Bob Gray, didn’t make the runoff).
In November, Price shellacked Democrat Rodney Stooksbury 61.6 percent to 38.4. Granted, Ossoff has pulled in double-digit millions, mostly from outside Democrat-supporting political groups, but still, why would he ever have a chance to begin with?
One reason might be that Handel is just too darn nice to him. For example, when Ossoff recently proposed to his longtime live-in girlfriend, Handel sent a very nice congratulatory message.
“Steve and I send our congratulations to the future Mr. and Mrs. Ossoff. We have learned a lot over nearly 25 years of marriage. Most days are beyond awesome but there are some tough times too.”
Aww. Maybe she could have focused a bit more on why millennials see fit to live in sin rather than tie the knot to begin with. Sen. Ben Sasse might say that Ossoff was #Adulting by making his relationship more-or-less official. But most conservatives would see it as something else.
The problem must be something else. I like Karen Handel and support her, not just as the GOP candidate, but as the best candidate in this race among all those who ran. But she shouldn’t be polling inside the margin of error, especially after the president himself made a personal appearance just a few weeks ago.
I’ve always been concerned about Handel’s history as a non-closer. She lost to Nathan Deal in the primary for governor; she lost to David Perdue in the senate primary. If Handel can’t win against a previously-unknown young Democrat in a heavily Republican district, I think we’ll all know the answer as to why.
Come June 20, a 2.6 percent lead might still win it, but I wouldn’t be to comfortable with that.
Whatever the problem is, to Karen and Steve Handel: fix it. It’s nice to be nice when you invite people over for dinner. But this is politics. It should not be this close.