Georgia's 6th congressional district special election, 2017

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Georgia's 6th congressional district special election, 2017

← 2016 June 20, 2017 2018 →

Georgia's 6th congressional district
Turnout 58.16%

  Karen C. Handel (cropped).jpg Ossoff-Mar-15-17.png
Nominee Karen Handel Jon Ossoff
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 134,799 125,517
Percentage 51.8% 48.2%

U.S. Representative before election

Tom Price
Republican

Elected U.S. Representative

Karen Handel
Republican

A special election to determine the member of the United States House of Representatives for Georgia's 6th congressional district was held on April 18, 2017, with a runoff held two months later on June 20. Republican Karen Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in the runoff vote, 51.8% to 48.2%. Handel replaced Tom Price, who resigned from the seat following his appointment and confirmation as the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Trump Administration. The runoff election was necessary when no individual candidate earned the majority of votes in the single-ballot election on April 18. Ossoff received 48.1% of the vote in the first round, followed by Handel with 19.8%.

Georgia's state law requires the Governor of Georgia to call for a special election to be held at least 30 days after a vacancy. Following Price's resignation, Governor Nathan Deal called for the special election to be held on April 18,[1] with a filing window for prospective candidates from February 13 to 15, 2017.[2] All candidates ran on one ballot, with a runoff election scheduled for the first- and second-place finishers, if no candidate received 50% of the vote.[3] Neither Ossoff nor Handel received a majority, and despite the Democratic Ossoff's finishing nearly 30 points ahead in the first round, Republican Handel nonetheless prevailed in the runoff election.

The election attracted exceptional national interest, with both major parties perceiving it as an opportunity to shape the political narrative prior to the 2018 midterm elections.[4][5] The district has a history of favoring GOP House candidates by large margins, but Trump won it by just 1% in 2016, giving Democrats a rare chance to steal a normally strong GOP district. A total of $50 million was spent as of the close of early-voting period on June 17, making it the most expensive House election in history.[6] Of that, more than $40 million was spent on television and radio advertising alone, smashing past House election records.[7] A very high number of voters—140,000—cast ballots during the runoff-election early-voting period.[6]

Candidates[edit]

Republican Party[edit]

Declared[edit]

Withdrew[edit]

Declined[edit]

Democratic Party[edit]

Declared[edit]

Withdrew[edit]

Declined[edit]

Libertarian Party[edit]

Declined[edit]

Independent[edit]

Declared[edit]

  • Alexander Hernandez[33]
  • Andre Pollard, computer systems engineer[15]

Withdrew[edit]

  • Joseph Pond, plumber[30]

Special election[edit]

Endorsements[edit]

David Abroms
Bob Gray
Organizations
Judson Hill
Federal politicians
Dan Moody
Federal politicians

Polling[edit]

Poll
source
Date(s)
administered
Sample
size
Margin of
error
David
Abroms (R)
Bob
Gray (R)
Karen
Handel (R)
Judson
Hill (R)
Bruce
LeVell (R)
Dan
Moody (R)
Jon
Ossoff (D)
Ron
Slotin (D)
Other Undecided
ZPolitics/Clout Research (R)[38] April 14–15, 2017 453 LV ± 4.6% 3% 17% 15% 10% 1% 9% 41% 1% 1% 2%
Emerson College[39] April 13–15, 2017 324 LV ± 5.4% 2% 15% 17% 6% 0% 9% 43% 2% 3% 3%
WSB/Landmark Communications[40] April 12–13, 2017 500 LV ± 4.2% 9% 17% 8% 8% 45% 5% 7%
FOX 5 Atlanta/Opinion Savvy[41] April 13, 2017 437 LV ± 4.6% 1% 11% 21% 11% 0% 9% 42% 0% 2% 3%
Revily[42] April 10–12, 2017 485 LV ± 4.5% 16% 17% 7% 9% 45% 0% 1% 6%
RRH Elections/Decision Desk HQ[43] April 5–10, 2017 321 LV ± 5% 3% 12% 15% 10% 0% 11% 39% 4% 6%
Meeting Street Research (R-Moody)[44] April 4, 2017 400 LV ± 4.9% 12% 10% 12% 43% 14% 9%
WXIA-TV Atlanta/Survey USA[45] March 27 – April 2, 2017 503 LV ± 4.5% 2% 14% 15% 5% 1% 7% 43% 0% 7% 7%
MoveOn/Lake Research Partners (D)[46] March 26–28, 2017 350 LV ± 5.2% 7% 18% 8% 0% 7% 40% 1% 1% 19%
FOX 5 Atlanta/Opinion Savvy[47] March 22–23, 2017 462 ± 4.5% 2% 10% 20% 10% 0.4% 8% 40% 1% 3% 6%
ZPolitics/Clout Research (R)[48] March 15–16, 2017 625 LV ± 3.7% 2% 16% 16% 9% 1% 5% 41% 3% 2% 6%
Trafalgar Group (R)[49] March 2–3, 2017 450+ LV ± 4.5% 13% 18% 8% 0% 2% 18% 3% 34%
ZPolitics/Clout Research (R)[50] February 17–18, 2017 694 LV ± 3.7% 11% 25% 9% 1% 2% 32% 3% 18%
Landmark/Rosetta Stone[51] December 1, 2016 500 LV ± 4.2% 22% 8% 14%[52] 56%

Results[edit]

Georgia's 6th congressional district special election (2017)
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jon Ossoff 92,673 48.12%
Republican Karen Handel 38,071 19.77%
Republican Bob Gray 20,802 10.80%
Republican Dan Moody 17,028 8.84%
Republican Judson Hill 16,870 8.76%
Republican Kurt Wilson 1,820 0.95%
Republican David Abroms 1,639 0.85%
Democratic Ragin Edwards 504 0.26%
Democratic Ron Slotin 491 0.25%
Republican Bruce LeVell 455 0.24%
Republican Mohammad Ali Bhuiyan 415 0.22%
Republican Keith Grawert 415 0.22%
Republican Amy Kremer 351 0.18%
Republican William Llop 326 0.17%
Democratic Rebecca Quigg 304 0.16%
Democratic Richard Keatley 229 0.12%
Independent Alexander Hernandez 121 0.06%
Independent Andre Pollard 55 0.03%
Total votes 192,569 100.00%
Runoff election[53]

Runoff[edit]

On April 18, 2017, no candidate received 50% of the vote in the blanket primary ("jungle primary").[54] Ossoff led with about 48.1% of the vote, Republican candidate Karen Handel received 19.8%, and the remainder of votes were scattered for 16 other candidates.[55][56] Because no candidate secured an absolute majority, the top two-vote-getters, Ossoff and Handel, competed in a runoff election on June 20, 2017.[57][56] Ossoff won all but 1% of the Democratic vote, while the Republican vote was more heavily split. Republicans collectively won 51.2% of the overall vote.[58]

Ossoff broke national fundraising records for a U.S. House candidate.[59] In total, Ossoff's campaign raised more than $23 million, two-thirds of which was contributed by small-dollar donors nationwide.[60] Ossoff's opponent, Karen Handel, and national Republican groups attacked Ossoff for raising significant small-dollar contributions from outside of Georgia, although Handel's campaign received the bulk of its support from super PACs and other outside groups, including those funded anonymously by so-called "dark money".[61][62] Combined spending by the campaigns and outside groups on their behalf added up to over $55 million, which was the most expensive House Congressional election in U.S. history.[63] During the campaign, Republican strategy focused on connecting Ossoff to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, a polarizing and unpopular figure amongst Republicans; Ossoff declined to say whether he would, if elected, support Pelosi for Speaker of the House.[64]

Endorsements[edit]

Karen Handel
Federal officials
U.S. Cabinet and Cabinet-level officials
U.S. Senators
U.S. Representatives

Governors

Statewide elected officials
Local officeholders
  • D.C. Aiken, former Alpharetta councilmember
  • JoAnn Birrell, Cobb County commissioner
  • Nancy Diamond, Roswell councilmember
  • Steve Dorvee, former Roswell councilmember
  • Chuck Eaton, public service commissioner
  • Joe Gebbia, Brookhaven councilmember
  • Jim Gilvin, Alpharetta councilmember
  • Ashley Jenkins, former Sandy Springs councilmember
  • Randall Johnson, former Johns Creek councilmember
  • Mike Kenn, former Fulton County commission chair
  • Arthur Lepchas, former Alpharetta mayor
  • Joe Lockwood, Milton mayor
  • Joe Longoria, Milton councilmember
  • Bill Lusk, Milton councilmember
  • Bates Mattison, Brookhaven mayor pro tem
  • Karen Meinzen-McEnerny, former Sandy Springs councilmember
  • Dan Merkel, Alpharetta councilmember
  • Terry Nall, Dunwoody councilmember
  • Bob Ott, Cobb County commissioner
  • Chris Owens, Alpharetta mayor pro tem
  • Rusty Paul, Mayor of Sandy Springs, Georgia
  • Michelle Penkara, member of the Tucker, Georgia City Council
  • Donna Pittman, Mayor of Doraville, Georgia
  • Kristen Riley, former Roswell councilmember
  • Jim Still, Mayor of Mountain Park, Fulton County, Georgia
  • Pam Tallmadge, Dunwoody councilmember
  • Karen Thurman, Milton councilmember
  • Honey Van De Kreke, Tucker councilmember
  • Rebecca Chase Williams, former Mayor of Brookhaven
  • Becky Wynn, Roswell councilmember
Former candidates
Organizations
Jon Ossoff
Federal politicians
Statewide politicians
Celebrities
Organizations
Websites

Debates[edit]

Complete video of first debate, June 8, 2017.

Polling[edit]

Averages[edit]

Model Ossoff Handel Spread
HuffPost Pollster[95] 49.3% 47.0% Ossoff +2.3
RealClearPolitics[96] 48.8% 49.0% Handel +0.2
270toWin[97] 49.4% 47.6% Ossoff +1.8
Daily Kos[citation needed] 48.1% 48.2% Handel +0.1
Plural Vote[98] 49.8% 50.2% Handel +0.4

Polls[edit]

Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size
Margin of
error
Jon
Ossoff (D)
Karen
Handel (R)
Undecided
WSB/Landmark Communications[99] June 18, 2017 500 ± 4.4% 49% 49% 2%
Trafalgar Group[100] June 17–18, 2017 1100 ± 2.9% 49% 51% 1%
WSB/Landmark Communications[101] June 15, 2017 800 ± 3.5% 50% 48% 2%
FOX 5 Atlanta/Opinion Savvy[102] June 14–15, 2017 537 ± 4.2% 50% 49% 1%
Trafalgar Group[103] June 10–13, 2017 1100 ± 2.9% 50% 47% 2%
SurveyUSA[104] June 7–11, 2017 700 ± 4.5% 47% 47% 6%
AJC/Abt Associates[105] June 5–8, 2017 1000 ± 4% 51% 44% 5%
WSB/Landmark Communications[106] June 6–7, 2017 420 ± 4.8% 50% 47% 3%
WSB/Landmark Communications[107] May 30–31, 2017 500 ± 4.4% 49% 48% 3%
SurveyUSA[108] May 16–20, 2017 549 ± 4.3% 51% 44% 6%
Gravis Marketing[109] May 8–10, 2017 870 ± 3.3% 47% 45% 8%
WSB/Landmark Communications[110] May 3–4, 2017 611 ± 4.0% 47% 49% 4%
GBA Strategies/House Majority PAC (D)[111] April 29 – May 1, 2017 400 ± 4.9% 50% 48% 2%
Anzalone Liszt Grove Research (D)[112] April 23–26, 2017 590 ± 4.0% 48% 47% 5%
Emerson College[39] April 13–15, 2017 324 ± 5.4% 47% 49% 4%
FOX 5 Atlanta/Opinion Savvy[41] April 13, 2017 407 ± 4.6% 44% 42% 14%
Revily[42] April 10–12, 2017 485 ± 4.5% 47% 46% 7%
Lake Research Partners[113] March 26–28, 2017 350 ± 5.2% 45% 45% 10%
FOX 5 Atlanta/Opinion Savvy[47] March 22–23, 2017 449 ± 4.5% 42% 41% 17%

Results[edit]

On June 20, 2017, Ossoff was defeated by Handel, 51.87% to 48.13%. Following reports of the election results, The New York Times characterized the race as "demoralizing for Democrats".[114] This was as close as a Democrat had come to winning this district since it assumed its current configuration as a northern suburban district in 1992; previously, Democratic challengers had only won more than 40 percent of the vote twice.[115]

Georgia's 6th congressional district special election (2017)[116]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Karen Handel 134,799 51.8% −9.9%
Democratic Jon Ossoff 125,517 48.2% +9.9%
Total votes 260,316 100.0%
Majority 9,282 3.57% −19.8%
Turnout 260,455 58.16%
Republican hold

County results[edit]

Vote breakdown by county
Karen Handel
Republican
Jon Ossoff
Democrat
Margin Total
County Votes % Votes % Votes % Votes
Cobb 45,688 57.98% 33,114 42.02% 12,574 15.96% 78,802
DeKalb 24,117 41.55% 33,928 58.45% 9,811 16.90% 58,045
Fulton 64,994 52.64% 58,475 47.36% 6,519 5.28% 123,469

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bolton, Ben (February 10, 2017). "Gov. Deal calls for special election following Price confirmation". Fox 5 Atlanta. Retrieved February 10, 2017. 
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  4. ^ Barrow, Bill (February 14, 2017). "Georgia special election shapes up as referendum on Trump". Associated Press. 
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  70. ^ "Big thanks to Majority Leader McCarthy for coming down & helping us finish strong! #ga6". M.facebook.com. Retrieved 2017-09-27. 
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External links[edit]

Campaign websites