For months now, progressives desperate to transmute their guilt and grief into something constructive have poured time and money into a 30-year-old, Democratic documentary filmmaker’s long-shot bid to win Newt Gingrich’s old House seat. Blue America has sent millions of dollars and thousands of canvassers to the Atlanta suburbs, ahead of today’s special election in Georgia’s sixth district — all out of a fervent desire to destroy Georgians’ health care and let illegal immigrants murder their daughters.
Or so President Trump suggests, in a last-minute robocall.
“Liberal Democrats from outside of Georgia are spending millions and millions of dollars trying to take your Republican congressional seat away from you. Don’t let them do it,” Trump is telling Georgia residents. “Only you can stop the super-liberal Democrats and Nancy Pelosi’s group, and in particular Jon Ossoff. If you don’t vote tomorrow, Ossoff will raise your taxes, destroy your health care, and flood our country with illegal immigrants … There’s only one way to stop the Washington liberals from taking your congressional seat, and your money, and your safety. And that’s by voting Republican for Congress tomorrow.”
In other words: George Soros went down to Georgia, he was looking for a seat to steal.
And by the end of the night, that seat could well be stolen. Tonight’s election pits Ossoff, and a couple other irrelevant Democrats, against a giant field of Republicans in a “jungle primary” — a primary where candidates aren’t segregated by party, and the top two finishers, regardless of affiliation, advance to a runoff election.
Unless, that is, one candidate manages to collect more than 50 percent of the vote tonight.
Current polling suggests that Ossoff will easily garner the most ballots of any one candidate. But those surveys also suggest that all the Republicans combined will enjoy a majority of the vote — right now, Ossoff is mired in the low-to-mid 40s. Conventional wisdom holds that Democrats have a better chance of winning this seat now than they would if Ossoff is forced to fend off a united Republican Party in a runoff this summer.
Georgia’s sixth district has been red for very long time. But it’s also precisely the kind of district that Democrats are targeting in 2018 — an affluent, highly educated, suburban area that just might be revolted enough by their reality-star president to secede from red America.
Special elections are notoriously difficult to forecast, since turnout varies wildly. But if you forced Nate Silver to make a prediction, he’d say Ossoff ends up in the high 40s tonight, and then enjoys about a 50-50 shot of winning in June.
But one anonymous GOP operative told Politico that Ossoff has a very good chance of putting this thing away tonight:
“I really think there’s a false sense of security out there that Ossoff can’t get to 50. He has a very clear path. These public polls haven’t taken into account a large number of low propensity voters. No one knows what election day turnout will look like. But if Ossoff avoids the runoff, it’ll be in the 48-49 range, not lower.”
It will all come down to turnout — which is why the president recorded his dire warning. But whether a demagogic appeal from the populist president will do more good than harm in this conservative — but none-too-Trumpist — district remains to be seen. To be sure, the call will likely mobilize some Republicans. But the call — along with the president’s recent tweets about the race — also offers the area’s Democrats a reminder to Google that Jon Ossoff guy.