Now that Georgia Congressman Tom Price has been confirmed as Health and Human Services Secretary, he has officially resigned his seat in Congress, and a Special Election is scheduled for April 18th to replace him. Price represented Georgia’s 6th District, comprising an affluent chunk of Atlanta’s northern suburbs. GA-6 is traditionally conservative (as is much of Georgia), typically electing Republican representatives by about 60%-40%. However, while Mitt Romney won GA-6 by 24 percentage points in 2012, Donald Trump only won by a single point in 2016 – a precipitous drop of 23%.
Trump didn’t do as well as normal Republicans in GA-6, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the district has gotten less Republican; on the same November 2016 ballot, Republicans in this district did about as well as they usually do. But there’s good news for Democrats: a few key factors may present an opportunity to turn the district blue. Imagine: a Democratic candidate wins in a deep-red district, in one of the first Congressional elections since Trump took office, and replaces a far-right Trump-backing conservative with a progressive Democrat. It would make national news, energize progressives, and send a powerful message to Trump and the Republican Party. Here’s why that could actually happen:
- Progressive enthusiasm. The last few weeks have seen an unprecedented surge of progressive, populist, and Democratic enthusiasm across America. Millions have taken to the streets in protest of Republican policies. Republican politicians have faced massive crowds of angry constituents demanding answers. Local Democratic Party meetings have overflowed their venues. Focusing this energy into volunteers, votes, and campaign contributions could change the game.
- A crowded field of Republicans. So far, not many have officially announced their intentions to run, but at least a dozen potential Republican candidates are being discussed in political circles. Here’s why that matters: a Special Election like this one on April 18th is structured differently than regular elections. In a Special Election, if no candidate gets a majority (over 50%) of votes, then the top two vote-getters (regardless of party) battle it out in a runoff election. This means the more the Republican vote is split between multiple candidates, the better chance for a Democrat to win, or at least make it into the runoff.
- Strong Democratic candidates. The field is down to three Democratic candidates for Tom Price’s seat:
- Jon Ossoff – former Congressional staffer with national security credibility. Business owner specializing in anti-corruption investigations. Ossoff has picked up some major endorsements, including Congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis and GA Democratic House Leader Stacey Abrams. Ossoff has also managed to raise a substantial amount of money – which, like it or not, matters in elections.
- Ron Slotin – former state Senator and current business owner in the 6th District. As a lawmaker, Slotin supported creation of Georgia’s highly successful HOPE scholarship program, and as a business owner he helped structure the entertainment tax credits responsible for the extraordinary boom in Georgia’s film and TV industries.
- Sally Harrell – former Georgia legislator with a focus on progressive policies, largely focused on children’s and women’e rights and healthcare, as well as education. Involved in several non-profit organizations. Holds a Masters of Social Work from the highly respected program at the University of Georgia.
It will be an uphill battle, but this is a winnable election for Democrats. A win in the April 18th Special Election will send a nationwide signal that we mean business, and that we can make real change happen. If you want to help send a message to Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans by turning GA-6 blue, here’s what you can do:
- If you live in or near the Atlanta metro area: join up with the 6th District Task Force, a joint effort of the Cobb, DeKalb, and Fulton county Democratic parties focusing on this special election. They are organizing canvassing (door knocking), voter registration, phone banks, etc. all across the 6th.
- If you live anywhere else in America or the world, please consider making a donation to one of the Democratic candidates listed above, to the Democratic Party of Georgia, or to the County parties in Cobb, DeKalb, or Fulton. Money matters in elections, and every dollar counts. Trust us, even a small donation can make a huge difference in the end.
- Share this post to spread awareness of the upcoming election. The best chance to replace Tom Price with a progressive is to tell the world about the Special Election and focus as much progressive attention as possible on this single target.
Mark the date – April 18th – and help out however you can.
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