Political Insider

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Ossoff ups the ante: Pours $6.6M into ads for 6th District runoff

Democrat Jon Ossoff reserved more than $6.6 million in airtime for cable, TV and radio ads through the June 20 runoff, ensuring he’ll be hard to avoid in the final five weeks of his bid for an upset victory in Georgia’s 6th District.

Elections data show he recently added $1.4 million to his initial ad buy, even as conservative groups backing Republican Karen Handel pony up millions to try to thwart his campaign.

Handel, meanwhile, has yet to spend a dime on broadcast TV or cable since notching the No. 2 spot in the April 18 vote. That seems likely to change: She was said to be shooting ads this week, which could indicate her campaign will launch them next week.



The new spending means the total cost of the race now exceeds $30 million, easily making it the most expensive U.S. House contest on record. The previous record, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, was a 2012 Florida contest that cost nearly $29.6 million.

It also suggests Ossoff’s latest fundraising haul could rival the unprecedented $8.3 million he collected between January and March.

Handel has the money to launch an effective ad blitz: She has raised at least $1.75 million since the April 18 vote, and fundraisers with Donald Trump and Paul Ryan have helped fill her coffers with new donors. Ryan will host another event for her on Monday, and other big fish could follow.

In the meantime, GOP allies are reinforcing her.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC with ties to Ryan, has said it was pouring in another $3.5 million into the contest.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has paid for at least $3.65 million in airtime, while the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has spent more than $1 million on its ad blitz.

More recent AJC coverage of the 6th District race:

How the 6th District went from red to purple

Comey’s ouster opens another divide in 6th District race

A U.S. House record: Georgia’s 6th race costs $30M and counting

Paul Ryan to campaign with Karen Handel in Georgia’s 6th race

A 6th District rift over the House healthcare plan in Tom Price’s old turf

Ossoff takes aim at disgruntled Republicans in Georgia’s 6th

Update: Democrats celebrate 6th District voter registration ruling

Ahead of Georgia’s Sixth District contest, a May 16 test vote

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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.