The big Georgia 6th District race to replace Tom Price went down on Tuesday, and the Democrats and their many, many Hollywood allies failed to, as they tweeted over and over and over, #FlipThe6th. Democrat candidate and non-resident of the district Jon Ossoff did not pull off the big upset and “referendum on Trump” that the major press and Samantha Bee were super excited about. Bummer, guys.
At The Resurgent, Erick Erickson notes that the spin from the Democrats and the Republicans regarding the race doesn’t give you the actual picture of what went down.
First the Democrats:
First, don’t believe the Democrat spin that “it should never have been this close.” The race featured 18 people of two parties on a single ballot. There were five mostly unknown Democrats, two mostly unknown independents, and eleven Republicans, more than half of whom were well known. The Democrats rallied to a 30 year old who lives outside the district and built up his positive name ID while the GOP field fought each other for three-quarters of the race. That is a standard dynamic in special elections like this.
Then the Republicans:
Second, don’t believe the Republican spin that this was expected and they’re home free in the runoff. While I support Karen Handel and she is a friend, her campaign team has often lagged in generation of grassroots enthusiasm and she does not like to raise money. That said, she is so well known in the 6th, she could play the first stage of this race conservatively and did. Additionally, while the race was going to be close given the dynamics, Jon Ossoff did better than most people, myself included, expected. He outperformed the polling and did better than Hillary Clinton.
Erick also breaks down the White House spin and, basically, the conventional social media “wisdom” in this great article.
One thing to note is that there really was a rebuke of Trump … among Republicans. The more the candidate was with him, the worse they performed, generally speaking.
The race goes to a runoff in June, and Republican support is expected to coalesce behind second place finisher Karen Handel, who will face Ossoff one-on-one – perhaps making a summer victory more likely.
There is plenty of spin to go around, as Erick noted, but there is no escaping the fact that Republicans had a divided field, and Democrats had a united one. In June, this red district will not face the same dynamic. It will be one on one. Until then, expect Democrats to keep dumping money in Georgia. The truth is, they need this win very badly. If for nothing else, to salve the feels of the celebs who couldn’t talk up a win.