Jon Ossoff’s biggest advocates? Suburban moms who feel guilty about November 8.
Democrat Jon Ossoff leads his Republican opponent Karen Handel by just shy of two percentage points the day before a special runoff election in Georgia’s 6th congressional district. It’s a slim margin to be ahead by, but it’s also one that would never have been expected even a few years ago — Newt Gingrich held this seat in Congress for 20 years. Tom Price, the current Health and Human Services Secretary, won reelection to the set by more than 20 percentage points. So how is Ossoff, a relatively unknown, 30-year-old liberal with almost zero political experience, even a contender in this race?
If Ossoff wins, Republicans will likely have one person to blame: President Trump. A GOP loss in this district will be viewed as a repudiation of the 2016 election, driven primarily, according to a new report from USA Today, by suburban Atlanta moms. A majority of white women — especially wealthy white women — voted for the president, but in Georgia’s 6th, they are leading a charge of some 11,000 volunteers knocking on half a million doors to get a Democrat elected.
“I had a lot of guilt about the election and Trump winning,” said Amanda Kelly, a stay-at-home mom who campaigned for Ossoff before the general election on April 18. “This was a way to channel my energy to make something positive out of the negative situation we’re in.”
“I think we all politely didn’t talk about politics [in the past]” said Cathy Karell, a 56-year-old retail manager. “It’s the elephant in the room. Most of us in this area assume that everybody you meet is really a Republican or a conservative and so, you know, who wants to bring that up at a PTA meeting?”
Both parties are throwing their weight behind their candidates. At a cumulative $50 million spent, it’s the most expensive congressional race in history. It’s also one of the most contentious. Republicans are using last week’s congressional shooting to fuel a last minute push for Handel.
“I’ll tell you what: I think the shooting is going to win this election for us,” Brad Carver, GOP chair of the 11th District, said over the weekend. “Because moderates and independents in this district are tired of left-wing extremism. I get that there’s extremists on both sides, but we are not seeing them. We’re seeing absolute resistance to everything this president does. Moderates and independents out there want to give him a chance. Democrats have never given this president a chance.”
If Ossoff loses, however, the progressive wing of his party will no doubt chalk up the failure to his not being radical enough. Despite winning the support of Bernie Sanders, many have criticized him a Republican-lite candidate whose centrist policies are too similar to Hillary Clinton — the very same policies Democratic strategists hope make him better suited to win a district that’s historically swung red.
The only alternative, at this point, is Handel — who told a constituent last week that she thinks adoption by same-sex couples should be outlawed.
I don’t know about you, but it kind of puts things in perspective for me.