Politics

17 For ’17: Ga. 6th Congressional District Race Draws National Attention

In what became the most expensive House race in U.S. history, Democratic newcomer Jon Ossoff lost to Republican Karen Handel in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District special election.
Credit Al Such and Kaitlin Kolarik / WABE
Audio version of this story here.

WABE News is looking back at the top 17 news stories in 2017. 

National attention, money and volunteers flooded Georgia’s 6th Congressional District for what became the most expensive House race in U.S. history, decided on June 20.

In the end, Democratic newcomer Jon Ossoff lost to Republican Karen Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state.

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The race began when Tom Price, who had held the seat since he was elected in 2004, was appointed secretary of Health and Human Services by President Donald Trump. Price ultimately resigned from the job amid controversy over his use of private jets.

While Price won re-election easily in 2016, Trump barely won more votes than Hillary Clinton in the district compared to Republican presidential candidates in previous elections. The 6th District is the kind of wealthy, well-educated seat that Democrats think they might be able to flip in 2018.

Progressives around the country found an outlet for their angst in the 6th District race and saw an opportunity to send a message to Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress.

All of this explains the national attention on the race.

According to the political news website FiveThirtyEight, Ossoff won about 6 more percentage points than previous Democrats on the ballot in the 6th District.

But when it comes to special elections around the country in 2017, Democrats actually saw larger swings to their advantage in more conservative districts, like those in Kansas, Montana and South Carolina.