Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

High-stakes referendum on Trump takes shape in a Georgia special election

ATLANTA — Taking the stage in a half-filled airplane hangar to rally supporters of Republican candidate Karen Handel, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price could not help but point to the record-shattering surge of liberal money that has flooded into the special House race here.

Handel faces Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old Democrat and former congressional aide who does not even live in the district.

"The out-of-state money is crazy," said Price, whose vacated congressional seat is up for grabs on Tuesday.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, the former Georgia governor, was even more direct. "I know some of you out there, some Republicans may even be turned off by our president," said Perdue, before making the case for his boss.

The two Trump Cabinet secretaries, both Georgia Republicans, had unwittingly revealed the twin hurdles standing in Handel's path heading into Tuesday's election: Democratic enthusiasm is soaring across the country while the Republicans who reside in this district are uneasy about what they see in Washington and have mixed views of President Donald Trump.

The hard-fought battle for Price's seat in Atlanta's northern reaches has not only become a financial arms race — by far the most expensive House contest in history — it has evolved into one of the most consequential special elections in decades.

Republicans, weighed down by Trump's growing unpopularity, must demonstrate they can separate themselves from the president enough to hold suburban districts that only now are becoming battlegrounds.

And Democrats are under pressure to show they can notch a victory in the sort of affluent seat they will need in order to take back the House majority.

An outright win in Georgia would serve as validation of the party's overall strategy. Democrats have been recruiting aggressively in Republican-leaning seats — including in Michigan, Illinois and New Jersey — and party officials expect a wave of new challengers to announce their candidacies after the start of the next fundraising quarter in July.

The stakes are highest for Republicans, who have held the district since the Carter administration without much of a challenge. Handel, 55, is a well-known former board chairwoman of the state's most populous county, Fulton, and also a former Georgia secretary of state.

"It's a race that we have to win," said Georgia state Sen. Brandon Beach, a Republican whose district includes part of the terrain being fought on here.

High-stakes referendum on Trump takes shape in a Georgia special election 06/18/17 [Last modified: Sunday, June 18, 2017 8:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Cooking challenge: Making homemade edible Christmas gifts

    Cooking

    Should I infuse this vodka with bacon?

    That's not a question I expected to ask myself on a Sunday morning, but here we are. This Christmas, I'm giving homemade gifts: infused liquor and chocolate fudge. But I didn't realize it would be so hard to find an appetizing recipe for infused alcohol.

  2. Tyre McCants, USF's brawny bruiser of a receiver

    College

    TAMPA — Having spent 11 games watching Tyre McCants in the flesh — all 236 pounds of it — USF coach Charlie Strong seems convinced his team's leading receiver down the stretch could be someone's leading rusher down the road.

  3. To test for climate disasters, like hurricanes: build stuff, then blow it apart

    Hurricanes

    WEST GLOCESTER, R.I. — In the backwoods of Rhode Island, a team of researchers spends whole days trying to destroy things: setting boxes on fire, shattering chunks of ice, hurling debris through the air at hurricane speed.

  4. From the food editor: How to make perfect, hot Crispy Roasted Potatoes

    Cooking

    Sometimes, you just want a hot, crispy potato.

  5. Kathy Fountain, from anchor chair to therapist's chair

    Business

    A knowledgeable voice and familiar face beamed into Tampa Bay homes when Kathy Fountain delivered the 5 o'clock news and chatted with talk show guests on WTVT-Ch. 13. She created some news of her own as co-anchor of the first female team in the Tampa Bay area, "so radical at the time," she says.