Saturday, June 10, 2017

GA-06 Homestretch... Ossoff Takes The Lead As Trump And Ryan Pour In More Dark Money


Thursday one of the Trumpist dark money front groups, America First Policies, dumped another $1,339,990 into GA-06 to smear Ossoff and bolster the failing Republican candidate, Karen Handel, after her stunningly bad debate performance. Republican dark and dirty money groups, like Paul Ryan's shady SuperPAC and America First Policies, have rushed something like $30,000,000 to GA-06 so far-- they will spend much more by Tuesday-- and they have no choice. Democrat Jonathan Ossoff has raised a shocking $23,600,861.14 while the generally disliked Handel has only come up with $519,726.40.

Without daily financial transfusions from Republican leadership she wouldn't have a competitive campaign. They even sent Trump to Atlanta to raise money for her, as well as Ryan, Pence and Price. Ryan's SuperPAC had spent $2,948,888.85 smearing Ossoff by Thursday and the NRCC kicked in a similar amount-- $2,556,761.24-- strictly for negative-- entirely dishonest-- ads. There's so little positive stuff to say about Handel that the NRCC only spent $295,378.55 on positive ads. Ryan's SuperPAC, the #1 source of spending in the race, put up just $110,933.19 for positive ads backing Handel. She's a dreadful candidate and they know it and her positions-- "I do not favor a livable wage"-- are unpopular. So it's all smear, smear, smear.

As Georgia's Secretary of State, Handel was once pretending to be a proponent of "transparency in government." Kira Lerner of Think Progress explained it like this yesterday: "Fast forward eight and a half years, through failed campaigns for governor and for the Senate, Handel is now the Republican candidate taking on fundraising-juggernaut Jon Ossoff in the special election for Georgia’s sixth congressional seat. As individual donors pour money in, trying to flip the historically solid conservative district to Ossoff, Handel is relying heavily on the same kind of spending she so recently fought against." Handel's campaign is almost entirely fueled by Dark Money. One anti-dark money group's executive director pointed out that "the hypocrisy is striking. Karen Handel was for a ban on secret political spending, but now that it’s clear she can’t compete with Jon Ossoff and his small-dollar, grassroots donors, her campaign is almost completely reliant on special interest money from groups that refuse to disclose their donors."

Friday the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published the results of a brand new poll that confirm what every other poll is saying-- a very tight race with Ossoff leading slightly. Except in this new poll it's actually a little better than slightly, probably because Handel did so horribly in the debate and because Trump and Ryan are so toxic (and so associated with her campaign). The poll, which has a margin of error of 4, shows Ossoff leading her 51-44%. Her downward momentum is palpable after a series of polls in the last 2 months showing a much closer contest.

The findings show Ossoff has an enormous lead over Handel among women, leading 60-34. The Republican is beating Ossoff among male voters by a 52-41 margin. He has a solid advantage over Handel among younger voters, while she has a slim majority of voters who are over 65.

The conservative-leaning district has long been held by Republicans, and Ossoff has tried to appeal to both liberals infuriated with President Donald Trump and moderates and independents who typically vote for the GOP. Of those polled, 46 percent identified themselves as Republican or Republican leaning and 44 percent identified as Democrats or Democratic leaning.

He’s capturing about 13 percent of Republican voters and 50 percent of independents-- a crucial voting bloc that typically leans right in the state. It shows almost no cross-over on the flip side; only 3 percent of Democrats say they’re backing Handel. He gets support from 44 percent of white voters, a big number for a Democratic in Georgia.
The race is likely to come down to get out the vote efforts on the ground. If Ossoff was swayed by the DCCC he won't have a robust GOTV effort and he'll lose, the way all their candidates do. If his team is running their own campaign they'll do what Jimmy Gomez just did in CA-34 and turn out the vote on Tuesday the same way Gomez just did against his rich conservative opponent. Early voting has been amazing so far, which makes me think Ossoff isn't letting the DCCC push him around.
Almost 63,000 people had already voted in the contest by Wednesday morning, easily surpassing the first round of early voting in April when about 55,000 people cast ballots. For the runoff, early voting ends June 16 and the total may stretch to 100,000.

...More than $36 million has already been spent on the race so far, according to a recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis, making the contest the most expensive in the history of the U.S. House. Voters in the 6th District-- and beyond-- have been inundated with TV ads, and signs promoting the candidates have dotted much of the metro area.

As a result, GOP strategist Chip Lake predicted a more than 200,000-voter turnout this time around, while others have said it will go higher. If so, that would be incredible for a district that boasts almost 530,000 registered voters and includes parts of three of metro Atlanta’s most populous counties-- Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton.

“That’s a big, big turnout in a special election in the hot, hot summer anywhere,” Lake said. “But I don’t know that it necessarily favors one candidate over another. We just have to spend some time and figure out who these people are.”

Adding to the suspense, nearly 8,000 voters have been added to the district’s voting rolls since the April special election. Experts say those are likely to be “high propensity” voters-- meaning they are more likely to turn out to vote than skip the race.

“The federal judge’s ruling to reopen voter registration was a game changer for the Ossoff campaign because it allowed him to hopefully expand the electorate,” Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson said.

As part of an ongoing lawsuit over how Georgia handles voter registration ahead of federal runoff elections, a judge in early May extended registration in the district through May 21.

Goal Thermometer Johnson said the early voting numbers should favor Ossoff because Democrats traditionally do a better job of getting their voters to the early voting sites.

“Both campaigns have put a lot of resources into turning out their voters early before they go away for the summer vacation,” Johnson said. “I truly believe a majority of voters in the 6th Congressional District have made up their mind who to vote for.”

Wayne and Maureen Darling are among them. Wayne is 68. Maureen is 69. Both are retired. Both voted for Ossoff.

“A counter to Donald Trump is probably the biggest one,” said Wayne Darling, when asked what issues motivated him. Ossoff, he added, could bring political change “more so than Karen, who’s just been part of election after election.”
If you want to help counter Trump-- and Ryan-- you can still help Ossoff's Get Out the Vote efforts by contributing. All you have to do is tap on the Blue America ActBlue thermometer just above on the right and find Jonathan Ossoff on the page it takes you to. And remember, there's no such thing as a contribution that's too small, at least not from Democrats.

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