Political Insider

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Democrat-heavy DeKalb punches above its weight in early Sixth District voting

Todd Rehm is a Republican consultant who loves his wife, dogs and numbers – possibly in that order.

His daily website, GaPundit.com, this morning includes this note:

As of the latest absentee voter file from the Secretary of State's office, 33,957 early and advance votes have been cast to date in the Sixth Congressional District Special Runoff Election:








That number for DeKalb is alarming.

What is intuitive to Rehm may not be to you, so allow us to explain why early balloting in the race between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel has him worried.

Back on April 18, in the first round of voting, the Sixth District had 445,095 registered voters. About 8,000 have been added since then, but that shouldn’t have too much impact on the geographic breakdown, percentage-wise:

-- Fulton, 48 percent;

-- Cobb, 29 percent;

-- and DeKalb, 23 percent.

-- Fulton, 46 percent;

-- Cobb, 32 percent;

-- and DeKalb, 23 percent.

You’ll notice that turnout in Cobb, the most Republican territory in the district, was slightly more robust than elsewhere.

Rehm’s worry is more evident if you convert early ballots already cast into percentages:

-- Fulton, 50 percent;

-- Cobb, 20 percent;

-- and DeKalb, 29 percent.

In early voting, Democratic-heavy DeKalb is punching well above its weight, while early voting in Cobb lags behind. That’s a clear sign that the Ossoff campaign has a competent turn-out system in place.

These early numbers are in no way definitive. Voting habits can vary according to party, and Republicans tend to prefer Election Day balloting. But if you’re a member of the Handel team, they could be a cause for concern – especially given last night’s WSB-TV poll:

Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel are separated by less than two points in a poll released Thursday by WSB-TV, the latest survey showing the June 20 runoff for Georgia’s 6th District is going to be a nail-biter.


The poll showed Ossoff leading Handel 49.1-47.6, well within the poll’s 4 percent margin of error. Only 3 percent were undecided, a sign of the total saturation of the race for the suburban Atlanta district.


More than $36 million has now been spent on the election – the costliest U.S. House contest in history – over what both parties increasingly see as a must-win contest.




Yesterday, we told you of the National Republican Campaign Committee ad that claimed terrorists are using Syrian refugees to infiltrate the United States, and that Democrat Jon Ossoff is a party to act. Politifact today rules the claim “false.”


While Georgia Republicans gather in Augusta this weekend for a state convention, the Democratic National Committee is holding a southern regional caucus meeting in Atlanta, and one attendee is generating a furious burst of GOP emails: Rep. Keith Ellison, the runner-up in this year's race to lead the national party.

Ellison is now the party's deputy chair, and Republicans were quick to send email blasts highlighting his "verbal assaults on Israel" - and to try to link him to Democrat Jon Ossoff.

"Does Ossoff really think appearing with Ellison will win him votes?" read one missive from the Republican National Committee.

Jewish voters make up about 8 percent of the district, which spans from east Cobb to north DeKalb, and Ossoff - who is Jewish - has highlighted his support for Israel in foreign policy speeches.

Ossoff's campaign said he will attend the event, but that media access is restricted.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.