Georgia’s 6th: What Does It Mean for Trump and the GOP?

 

The short answer: nothing!

Graphic: The New York Times.

As you probably know, Georgia’s 6th Congressional District was previously held by Tom Price, who is now the Secretary of Health and Human Services, which is why the seat was subject to a jungle primary between Democrat Jon Ossoff and 11 Republicans.

Price won the district by double digits in November while Trump barely defeated Clinton. The seat has been held by a Republican since the Carter presidency, so how unusual is it that Jon Ossoff won 48% of the vote?

With headlines like “Jon Ossoff Surpasses Rivals in Georgia House Race, but Still Faces a Runoff,” Democrat Jon Ossoff has a real shot at Georgia election upset,” and “Ossoff falls just short in Georgia special election as GOP gets wake up call,” you’d think pretty darn unusual.

I contend that there’s nothing unusual here and while the GOP may have to worry about 2018, it’s not because of this election.

1) The total Republican vote would have defeated Ossoff.

Ossoff only won 48% of the vote. The total numbers of votes cast for Democrats in the jungle primary: 94451. Republican votes: 97997. Now that the election is moving to a one-on-one match-up between Ossoff and the top Republican vote getter, Ossoff is the one that faces the uphill climb, not GOP contender Karen Handel.

2) Ossoff raised over $8,000,000, but only $415,000 came from inside the district, a figure close to his top Republican challengers.

The media loves to quote the $8,000,000 raised by Ossoff as a sign of impending GOP doom. However, 95% of that $8 million came from outside of Georgia’s 6th. When you add in the amount of outside Republican money dedicated to anti-Ossoff ads rather than to a dedicated GOP candidate (remember that there were 11), the amount is pretty close.

3) Comparing Price’s election results to Ossoff’s is irrelevant.

Price was an incumbent with good name recognition. He raised $2.1 million. His opponent raised $0 and had no campaign website. Obviously Ossoff, a young and charismatic Democrat who out-raised his Democrat predecessor by $8.3 million outperformed him against a Republican party divided amongst 11 candidates. There is no correlation between Price’s election results and Ossoff’s.

4) When compared to Hillary vs. Trump, Ossoff is in trouble.

Price may have won his seat by double digits, but Trump only won the 6th district by less than 2 points. Ossoff’s 48% is barely better than Hillary’s results. When facing off against a single Republican, we have every reason to suspect that Ossoff will lose.


This special election turned out exactly how one would have expected it to, despite the headlines desperately searching for a liberal victory against President Trump. The real message will be sent after the runoff election. However, this message is relatively insignificant either way.

If Ossoff wins, it simply means he won a district that wasn’t too fond of Trump in the first place. If Karen Handel wins, it means the district hasn’t changed their minds much since November. Either way, this is not the election to watch to try to predict the 2018 midterms.

What do you think of this analysis? Should this election have us worried?

Published in Elections
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There are 37 comments.

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  1. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Manny (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    I agree with your analysis, and Ossoff is a little Pajama Boy twerp.

    LOL, he does fit that description. He’s like a caucasian version of Obama.

    Obama was a caucasian version of Obama.

    • #31
  2. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Umbra Fractus (View Comment):
    The lesson the GOP should learn is don’t run 11 candidates.

    Maybe we need a pre primary primaries, after all, unlike Democrats, we like competition.

    • #32
  3. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    I know the 6th district very well as I lived there for many years.  Senator Johnny Isakson lives in the area.  (It was his seat before Tom Price won it.)

    So I’m not surprised Karen Handel won the Republican nomination.  She has a lot of name recognition in Georgia.  I voted against her when she ran for governor.  Or… rather… I voted FOR a different candidate.  If I still lived in the 6th though, I wouldn’t have a problem voting for her now to serve in Congress.  After all, Planned Parenthood hates her, and that’s a great enemy in my book.

    But you guys downplay how close a 30 year old kid got to taking the cake.

    Of course it’s easier when you have just two people running against one another, but that doesn’t mean you can dismiss the fact that Ossof’s total was close to the Republican total.  You should also understand the 6th is an affluent district with lots of suburban women who are college educated and who don’t like Donald Trump very much.  Sorry.  They don’t.  And these are conservative women, too.

    So the OP writer is spot on when noting that people didn’t like Trump much before the race, and they still don’t like him much.

    If Republicans in general don’t perform, that district could be won by a moderate Democrat, if such a creature still exists.   It’s kinda up to Republicans to deliver.

     

    • #33
  4. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Also, the suburban vote was what flipped the South to the Republicans.  While it’s great Trump brought in voters from the Rustbelt, many of those ladies in the suburbs either held their noses when casting for Trump per that whole airplane metaphor thing, or they didn’t vote for him at all.

    In my view, he must pull some of those people back if he wants to have a successful presidency.  They’re an important part of the party.  I’d even say an essential part.

    I don’t see this special election as a real referendum on Trump either, but it could become that way in the midterms.  You don’t want your “safe” seats to start going wobbly.

    Also, Handel–and Republicans voters in Cobb County–shouldn’t take the inevitability of her win now for granted.

    That’s something Hillary did, and see where that got her. 

    • #34
  5. JcTPatriot Inactive
    JcTPatriot
    @JcTPatriot

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    I know the 6th district very well as I lived there for many years. Senator Johnny Isakson lives in the area. (It was his seat before Tom Price won it.)

    So I’m not surprised Karen Handel won the Republican nomination. She has a lot of name recognition in Georgia. I voted against her when she ran for governor. Or… rather… I voted FOR a different candidate. If I still lived in the 6th though, I wouldn’t have a problem voting for her now to serve in Congress. After all, Planned Parenthood hates her, and that’s a great enemy in my book.

    But you guys downplay how close a 30 year old kid got to taking the cake.

    Of course it’s easier when you have just two people running against one another, but that doesn’t mean you can dismiss the fact that Ossof’s total was close to the Republican total. You should also understand the 6th is an affluent district with lots of suburban women who are college educated and who don’t like Donald Trump very much. Sorry. They don’t. And these are conservative women, too.

    So the OP writer is spot on when noting that people didn’t like Trump much before the race, and they still don’t like him much.

    If Republicans in general don’t perform, that district could be won by a moderate Democrat, if such a creature still exists. It’s kinda up to Republicans to deliver.

    Good points, and great inside information, Lois. I learned something today.

    However, right now it is 238 GOP to 193 DEM. Making it 194 DEM means one more DEM rotting in the house, and I don’t care.

    My only concern is that the MSM will crow about it for a month and make it sound like Trump is losing power. The seat itself means absolutely nothing.

    It would be great if Trump learns a lesson and stops taking people from Congressional seats that might lead to a DEM taking it.

    • #35
  6. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    JcTPatriot (View Comment):
    The seat itself means absolutely nothing.

    Sure.  Of course.  But I do think Republicans should learn from the margins.

    I mean, the 6th is a safe district by tons of measures.  I would never call it a swing.  But when you start taking people for granted… Well.  Things just don’t stay safe forever.

    That’s all I mean.

    • #36
  7. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Last thing…. I guess I’ll say this, too.  If Republicans really lost the 6th, I’d start to worry about bigger fissures.  You see, that really is the seat of Republican power in that state.   It would be a big blow.

    • #37
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