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Millions of Dollars, 18 Candidates, and a Presidential Tweet Lead Up to Georgia’s Special Election

This special election could indicate how Democrats and Republicans will contend with one another in the Trump era.
April 18, 2017, 12:30pm

A special election in Georgia tomorrow will pit a 30-year-old, extraordinarily well-funded Democratic underdog against the Republicans that have held the seat for nearly 40 years.

The election is widely seen as an indication of how Democrats and Republicans will contend with one another in the Trump era. The Dems have framed this race as a centerpiece of their Trump strategy, and Jon Ossoff, the Democratic challenger in Georgia, as a test for how the Democratic Party will present itself in 2018. But it's not the first test of Democratic electability in the Trump era. Democrat James Thompson, a civil rights attorney and veteran from Wichita, ran for Mike Pompeo's seat in Kansas's 4th Congressional District on April 11, ultimately losing in what proved to be an unexpectedly tight race.

The Georgia election is unusual in that it features an open primary in which Republicans and Democrats run against one another. If any one candidate takes more than 50 percent of the vote tomorrow, they'll have the seat—and Ossoff is polling at 45 percent, according to a WSB-Landmark Communications poll, some 28 points ahead of the next contender. His 17 opponents, most of whom are Republicans, haven't been able to consolidate votes—Karen Handel, former Georgia Secretary of State, trails in a distant second with 17.4 percent.

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