Political Insider

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Georgia 6th: Montana victor calls for help defeating ‘liberals in Georgia’

Republican Greg Gianforte, who won Montana’s special election despite an election-eve assault charge, sent a fundraising plea Saturday calling for conservatives to “keep the momentum against them down in Georgia and the other races.”

The dispatch sent on behalf of the National Republican Congressional Committee invoked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, saying that “since Montana is no longer in Pelosi’s grasp, all of her and the left’s attention will go towards Georgia and the remaining special elections.”

“I know with your support, [name], we can defeat Pelosi and the liberals in Georgia and the remaining special elections,” it read. “Can I count on you to continue your support before the last crucial FEC deadline before Georgia and the other special elections?”

Gianforte won a 7-point victory in Thursday’s special election for Montana’s lone congressional seat after he was charged with a misdemeanor for allegedly body-slamming a reporter from The Guardian who asked him about his healthcare stance. He later apologized, saying “that’s not the way I’ll lead in this state.”

The June 20 runoff between Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff becomes the latest test of Donald Trump’s popularity and the GOP agenda, and Democrats are hungry for an upset win after defeats in Montana and an earlier Kansas special election.

While Trump easily carried both those areas in November, he struggled mightily in Georgia’s 6th District, a once-reliably Republican bastion in Atlanta’s northern suburbs. Trump won the district by less than 2 points in 2016, even as Republican Rep. Tom Price coasted to a landslide victory.

And while national Democrats offered only reluctant support to their candidates in Montana and Kansas, they have showered Ossoff with unprecedented cash and bountiful resources as he tries to flip the district. They see the contest – the most expensive U.S. House contest in history – as a proving ground for how Democrats can compete in fast-changing suburbs they’ll need to win to take back the House in 2018.

More: The GOP prevented an upset in Montana. What does that mean for Georgia-6?

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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.