Before the Polls Close…

It’s just about all over but the counting in the most expensive House race in American history.  Over $50 million has poured into the Atlanta suburbs in the race between Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff – much of it from liberal special interests from outside the district.  The Democrats have sought to make this special election in Georgia’s 6th District a referendum on Donald Trump.

Former Congressman Tom Price vacated his seat here to become Donald Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services.  He won re-election last year by 23 points – the same margin of victory Mitt Romney had over Barack Obama in 2012.  Meanwhile Donald Trump only won this district by 1 percentage point.  So, it is logical that the Democrats would focus on attacking Trump.

According to NBC News, early voting has been very strong:

As of June 19, 140,510 votes (a quarter of all registered voters in the district) have been cast. This number is more than double the number of early votes in the April 18 runoff election (58,825) and approaches the number of early voters for the 2016 presidential race last November (195,852).

If the jungle primary on April 18 is any indication, those early votes should favor Ossoff.  That’s not much of a surprise.  Traditionally, Democrats win early voting while the GOP carries the Election Day vote.  That means you should expect Ossoff to jump out to a lead when the polls close at 7:00 PM local time and the early votes are quickly tallied.  Handel will have to make up that ground as the Election Day votes roll in.  This could make it a late night.

The polling is very tight.  Karen Handel has closed the gap that Jon Ossoff enjoyed at the beginning of June.  According to the Real Clear Politics aggregation of polling, they are now in a statistical dead heat thanks in part to the publicizing of Ossoff’s liberal out-of-state supporters and his living outside the district.  Historically, special House election polling is less accurate than polling for midterm and Presidential year polling though.  According to FiveThirtyEight.com,

We collected 54 polls from special House elections that have taken place since 2004 and for each compared the leading candidate’s share in the poll with the final election results, taking into account undecideds. We found the true margin of error to be about +/- 8.5 percentage points. That’s almost double the theoretical margin of error posted for most of the polls conducted for the Georgia 6 special election. Even if we compare the average polling share that the leading candidate received in the 22 races that these 54 polls were taken in, the margin of error is still about +/- 7.5 points.

This is to say – anything could happen.  It sounds like a cliché, but it really does come down completely to turnout.  The demographics and history should favor Handel, but the Democrats are very energized.  The Left is attempting to turn out new voters that sat out the April 18 election.  They have had some success there, since the “new” early voters are younger and more minority than normal.  Ossoff is also trying to win over some moderate white suburban voters who have shied away from Trump.  These moderates have traditionally voted GOP here but are the reason for the difference in the margin of victory between Trump and Rep. Price last year.

Despite this being only one of 435 House seats, much more is at stake than just one vote in Congress.  Special elections in off-years are often treated as bellwethers for the current trends of our political environment.  With no other concrete proxies available, politicos latch onto these.  Victory gives talking points, validates agendas, energizes the base, and assists in candidate recruitment.  Whether these off-year elections actually predict future success in midterm or Presidential election years is up for debate, but if Democrats can find success in the Georgia suburbs, they could be a threat in other unexpected places next year as well.

Left and Right Agree: Ossoff’s Free Beacon Ban is Stupid, and Howard Dean is an Idiot

After taking his two-hour jaunt from Democrat Jon Ossoff’s love shack to the district he’s running to represent, Washington Free Beacon reporter Bret Scher was rewarded by the Ossoff campaign for his effort.

That’s right, they tossed him out of their campaign event.

Asked why the Free Beacon was being restricted from covering the event, Haworth said, “Thank you very much for your interest in covering our race.” Asked why the Free Beacon wasn’t being allowed to cover the race despite its interest, Haworth said, “Thank you very much for your interest in covering our race.”

This singular act of idiocy was widely condemned by media from the left and the right. Senior HuffPo editor Sam Stein tweeted:

Sopan Deb, who covers culture for the New York Times, joined in solidarity with his fellow reporter.

Not to be out-shouted, idiot clown Howard Dean replied to Stein with this.

To which Jeet Heer from The New Republic slapped Dean like a transgender MMA diva.

Dean is wrong. Much of the conservative press is terrible but the Free Beacon is far superior to propagandist fare like The Daily Caller. Unlike other comparable conservative websites, the Free Beaconmakes an effort to do original reporting. Its commitment to journalism should be welcomed by liberals.

As Mother Jones noted in 2015, “In its short history, the Free Beacon’s tiny staff of fewer than two dozen journalists has pulled off an almost unprecedented feat: Amid a conservative movement that has often evinced something between disinterest and disdain for the work of investigative reporters, it has built genuine muckraking success.”

This judgment still stands. And given the problems of disinformation and propaganda in the Trump era, liberals would do well to encourage any effort to improve conservative journalism.

I mean, even Mother Jones realizes that WFB is a real news outlet. And the Daily Caller was founded by Tucker Carlson, of Fox News. I guess Fox News isn’t legit either. Hey Howard, 2009 is calling–that’s the last time the White House, under Obama, took on Fox News and lost.

Excluding WFB is petty and stupid, just like Howard Dean. It won’t change anything in the election results (probably), but if Ossoff loses by a single vote, he deserves it for this stunt.

(Given the bad weather, I think he’ll probably lose anyway. But it’s definitely too close to call.)

Nobody at the Ossoff campaign knows why Scher was excluded from the campaign event. Or at least they’re not saying.

For someone who’s running against Donald Trump, Ossoff is certainly acting like him.

The Ossoff Walk of Shame: Reporter Walks From Ossoff’s House To GA-6 And Takes Two Hours!

Yesterday, I shared with you how even reliably Democrat-friendly MSNBC is giving Jon Ossoff a hard time for not living in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, where he’s in a tight runoff election today against Karen Handel.

Ossoff assures voters that everything is just fine because he lives “down the street” from the edge of the district. (Later, campaign spokespeople clarified that his home is “three blocks away” from GA-6.)

It turns out that “down the street” and “three blocks away” are a bit of a stretch, as Brent Scher of the Washington Free Beacon discovered the hard way. Scher decided to walk from Ossoff’s home to the edge of the 6th district, and it was an epic journey.

He writes:

I set out to walk from Ossoff’s current residence in the northwest corner of Emory University to a section of the sixth district that juts down into the fifth district on Buford Highway. It would have been a shorter trip, by the way, to Georgia’s Fourth Congressional District, but that’s not where Ossoff is running.

I drew myself my own little map, knowing that my phone would be taxed by my attempt to put the entire quest on Facebook Live, and set out at 10:32 a.m. for the International Cafe, which I determined to be the closest landmark inside the sixth district.

Scher attempted to record his journey for posterity, but the long distance and the oppressive Georgia heat wreaked havoc on his phone.

After crossing the highway, I was able to capture video of the final stretch of my journey, though my phone again failed before the glorious International Cafe came into sight.

Scher arrived at the International Cafe just in time for lunch. His journey took him two hours. TWO HOURS! The entire trip was 3.2 miles.

Scher hailed an Uber for the ride back, and the return trip was over 18 minutes. Some three block trip just down the street, huh?

Check out Scher’s video account:

Voters in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District Just Want Today to be Over

Perhaps the most compelling argument against voting for Jon Ossoff is that, should he win, the 2018 congressional race will begin in earnest tomorrow. People have ignored the fact that Nancy Pelosi is as unpopular in the district as Donald Trump. In fact, the ads that have had the most impact on Ossoff have been the ones tying him to Pelosi.

That also suggests the district is not as Democrat as some would think. It has been a pretty strongly Republican district for a long time and the only Republican who has had trouble in the district is named Donald Trump. But his unpopularity has been a drain on Karen Handel. Voters in the Republican Primary made a wise choice with Karen despite noise to the contrary. Jon Ossoff has spent tens of millions of dollars in negative ads against Handel to little effect. The voters of the sixth have voted for Handel several times over the years and they know her. The attacks have worked to rally Democrats, but not persuade others.

What is clear today is that people are tired of the race. All over the sixth, voters have put up signs on their mailboxes and doors telling door knockers to stay away. They are tired of all the visits. Many of them have already voted. They just want it over.

The events of last week in Washington, coupled with white powder filled envelopes delivered in Handel’s neighborhood and other offensive acts against her, have fired up Republicans more than they might otherwise have been. The enthusiasm gap has closed. One concern for the GOP is the number of Republicans who say they will vote Ossoff to rebuke the President. It will be a bit hard for the GOP to claim an Ossoff win has nothing to do with the President. A concern for Democrats is the Republican assertiveness that Democrats are running as a violent mob. That assertion may actually cost Ossoff the race given last week’s events.

In the final days of the race, the polling has closed to a tie. The metro Atlanta area is under a flood watch today, but the rain is expected to be south of the sixth district for most of the day. Usually it is the GOP that likes rain, but today the Republicans are hoping for clear skies so all the GOP will turn out. If they do, Handel should win. But that is a big if as the President’s popularity declines further. Right now, he has an unfavorable rating in the sixth of around 60%. That weighs down Handel, but hopefully not enough for Ossoff to win.

Jon Ossoff Faces Criticism For Not Living In GA-6, And Who Called Him Out May Surprise You

In the heated, expensive, and thoroughly annoying race for Georgia’s 6th district seat in Congress, one of the biggest sticking points is the fact that Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff lives outside of the district, preferring to shack up with his fiancee in the reliably liberal 5th district rather than in the more conservative 6th.

Ossoff has taken plenty of heat from the right for his choice to live outside the district where he’s running, but on Friday, he faced some criticism from a surprising source: MSNBC.

Appearing on the Velshi & Ruhle program (no, I’ve never heard of it either), Ossoff took a question that suggested that his residency may have a negative effect on the campaign.

“You are not able to vote because you don’t live in the district,” Ruhle said to Ossoff, noting that the candidate cannot vote for himself because of his residency. “I understand that you don’t live in the district. You live where your fiancee, your girlfriend, is because you’re supporting her; she is in medical school. Why don’t you move at this point?”

“You want to get this job. To me it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal,” Ruhle added.

“As you know, Stephanie, I grew up in the district, and Alisha [Kramer] walks to work at the hospital every morning at 4:00 a.m. for her medical shifts, her shifts at the hospital,” Ossoff responded.

“I’m proud to be supporting her career even if I take a little political heat for it,” he said.

Ossoff went on to explain that, once his fiancee finished medical school, they will move into the 6th district, where he repeatedly told the hosts he “grew up.”

Check out the entire exchange here:

Will his residency outside the 6th district really make a difference in the outcome? Will it give Handel’s supporters reason to turn out? Does it matter to Democrats at all? I guess we’ll find out as Tuesday’s results come in. Stay tuned.

On the Ground in Georgia: Why Both Sides Should Be Worried About GA-06

All eyes are on Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District where Karen Handel is battling Jon Ossoff for Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price’s old congressional seat. The district has moved towards the Democrats in the last decade, but it should still be a solidly Republican district. In 2012, Mitt Romney overwhelmingly won it. Republicans running statewide have won it easily. Congressman Price won it easily. The only Republican who has had trouble winning it is Donald Trump. But that has made it hard for Karen Handel to win it.

Both sides have something to worry about in this too close to call race.

For the Republicans, they need to worry that they may be losing a solidly Republican district because 15% of the GOP is voting Democrat not to protest Karen Handel, but to protest President Trump. A number of Republicans, particularly Republican women, are using this vote as a way to voice their displeasure with President Trump, even if it means handing the seat to the Democrats.

With the GOP House majority at only a couple dozen strong, losing a seat like this is a big red flag for 2018.

For the Democrats, they need to worry that this race is so close despite spending upwards of $20 million with 15% of the GOP voting Ossoff. This is the sort of district they must win to take back the House, but they cannot do that if they have to spend that much money to be competitive. To be sure, an off year election requires more money and a greater focus of resources. But even with a GOP protest vote and an extended voter registration period to draw in new Democrat voters, the race is still very close. The Democrats had a fundraising advantage, media advantage, advertising advantage, off year advantage, etc. and their candidate has had to run like a moderate Republican who refuses to trash the President to get elected.

If the party is moving left, having people like Ossoff get elected who cannot move as left as his heart and his party would want is not good news for the Democrats. It opens them up to major primary fights later when Ossoff refuses to vote for things like a living wage or government funded healthcare in order to keep his position. We should not forget that Nancy Pelosi is as unpopular in this district as Donald Trump. Ossoff voting for Pelosi for Speaker would be used against him effective if he is able to pull this off.

Liberal Money at Work: Jon Ossoff Rejects Single Payer Healthcare. Favors Republican Approach to Increase Market Competition.

Nationally, Jon Ossoff has become a fundraising juggernaut as liberals in California pour money into the congressional race in Georgia. But the way Ossoff fundraises nationally is completely different from how he campaigns in Georgia.

Liberals nationally would have you believe his victory will be a win for progressives. But given every opportunity, Ossoff systematically rejects the progressive agenda in addition to never attacking the President. It is funny to watch the great white hype that is his national buzz compared to the actual on the ground candidate.

Above is the WABE debate where, when confronted with the idea of single payer, Ossoff not only dismisses it, but says he favors increasing market competition by working across the aisle. That, you will recall, is the Republican approach to healthcare. By stimulating competition, prices will come down. This is what liberal money buys.

In Georgia 6, Handel and Ossoff are Tied

With a week to go, Karen Handel and Jon Ossoff are tied and a lot of the race will come down to whether Republicans turn out on election day and the ages of the voters.

According to the 11 Alive poll, which has a better track record than some of the others floating out there,

A younger electorate favors Democrat Ossoff. He leads 3:2 among those under age 50. The older the electorate, the better Handel will do. She leads 3:2 among seniors and leads by nearly 2:1 among the ‘Old South,’ those who have lived in Georgia 30 or more years. Ossoff is up 25 points among the ‘New South,’ those transplants who have lived in Georgia 20 or fewer years.

More importantly, Ossoff has stockpiled an early vote lead. Though in theory the GOP has had more voters turn out in early voting, Ossoff apparently has a 19 point lead. That meshes with what is happening on the ground. A lot of Republican voters are viewing this race as a way to voice displeasure with the President. Ossoff is providing them that opportunity.

Notwithstanding all that, the district is still a Republican district and if Republicans turn out Handel will win. That’s just the question right now. Democrats have overwhelming enthusiasm and the GOP does not, so will they turn out?