A referendum on Trump’s presidency? Politicos watching tight Georgia election for clues – World

Whether they’re Democrats or Republicans, election watchers probably have Georgia on their minds. The most expensive House race in U.S. history ends with the voting Tuesday night in a special election in North Atlanta billed as a referendum on Donald Trump’s presidency.

Polls have Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel in a virtual dead heat.

The outcome in Georgia’s 6th congressional district — wealthy, conservative, suburban territory that’s remained Republican red since Newt Gingrich won his House seat there in 1979 — could portend a political shift among moderate Republicans and Democrats keen to send a message to the White House.

Beyond just the Peach State, Democratic strategists are hoping a victory will signal a national trend of disaffected Republicans turned off by Trump’s leadership, his response to ongoing Russia-related investigations and his party’s new health-care bill to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Many have their eye on reclaiming a Democratic majority in the House in 2018.

Hopes for the Democrats

“Georgia is the heart of the Old South, the gateway to the southeast region,” says Tharon Johnson, a Democratic strategist based in Atlanta.

A Democratic victory would offer some political momentum into the mid-term elections next year because, he says, “if a Democrat can win in Georgia, and in a Republican district with a proven model, it does nothing but promote hope and optimism for Democrats to win more seats in the upcoming mid-term elections.”

Republican candidate Karen Handel, shown campaigning in Alpharetta, Georgia, on June 19, is a former secretary of state of Georgia. (Bita Honarvar/Reuters)

Johnson was impressed with Ossoff’s fundraising prowess.

A record $50 million has been raised by both sides in the special election to fill the seat left vacant by former congressman Tom Price, who was tapped to serve in Trump’s cabinet as secretary of health and human services.

That Ossoff, 30, a former…

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