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In Georgia, a cacophony of arguments could tilt House race

19 Juin 2017

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, a former two-term Georgia governor, took sharp aim at Republican Karen Handel's opponent in Tuesday's congressional runoff election, 30-year-old Democrat Jon Ossoff, who has raised more than $23 million from people around the country hoping for a victory that could turn the tide on Trump.

Karen Handel is getting more backup from national Republicans in the final hours of Georgia's tight 6th Congressional race.

The shooting at a congressional baseball practice that left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and others seriously injured last week has been injected into the special U.S. House election in Georgia, just days before voters head to the polls Tuesday.

The seat was formerly held by Tom Price, who is now the secretary of Health and Human Services.

The president headlined a fundraiser for Handel when he was in town in late April, where he quipped to the former secretary of state that she'd "better win." Republicans anticipated far higher early turnout among reliably Republican voters - Georgia voters don't register by party - while Democrats point to thousands of ballots cast by newly registered voters and those who didn't vote in April.

"It'll be close, but we'll win it", he said.

The Republicans also have a series of critical policy votes pending that could be affected by the outcome in the 6th District, with health care being the most important of all.

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Although Ossoff is ahead of Handel in almost all of the surveys, the lead has been within the margin of error in nearly all of them, according to Politico.

Ossoff says he would oppose the House Republican health care bill because it punishes many working-class households that gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act and would "gut" consumer protections for individuals with previous maladies in their medical history. Many analysts believe it may provide insight into the fortunes of the parties in next year's midterm elections for the U.S. House - in which Tuesday's victor will have to compete if they want to keep their seat.

"This is a harbinger of national politics", Perdue said Saturday at a Handel rally.

"Even with Ossoff's considerable war chest and an unequaled grassroots army, Republicans hold numerous structural advantages, which is why the DCCC has invested heavily in expanding the electorate and persuading swing Georgians to vote their Ossoff", the national political organization said in a statement in May. The district has about 530,000 registered voters.

Erin Hill, executive director of ActBlue, told ABC News that fundraising levels for Ossoff are in the Top 5 of all the candidates and entities that have ever used ActBlue. After all, Mitt Romney carried the district by 24 percentage points in 2012 - and Price never faced a serious challenge for his seat. "There are many in the community who do have serious concerns about the direction the administration is taking us in and I'm one of them and those concerns have only grown over time".

It was a return to traditional partisan themes, seemingly as a reminder to any Republican tempted to stay home or vote for Ossoff. SOUNDBITE: KAREN HANDEL, REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE, SAYING: "We are going to rock Nancy Pelosi's world".