Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

With Ossoff at the gates, Republicans try to fortify Georgia Sixth

National Republicans are pouring more resources into Georgia’s special election to counter Democrat Jon Ossoff’s candidacy, with a TV ad blitz launching on Friday and plans to add staffers and open new offices in the suburban Atlanta district.

The National Republican Congressional Committee’s ad makes no mention of Ossoff, but warns that “Nancy Pelosi and liberal politicians are flooding into Georgia to try and stop our Republican majority that’s getting things done.” New radio and digital ads are next.

And the Republican National Committee plans to add nine additional staffers to the six already fanned out across the district, which spans from east Cobb to north DeKalb, to try to fend off an Ossoff upset victory in the April 18 special election.

The RNC also plans to open a second office, begin door-to-door canvassing and phone calls “in earnest” and launch dozens more voter training sessions to marshal a grassroots army in the district.

The district has been in GOP hands since the 1970s, and losing it would be an epic embarrassment for the GOP and Donald Trump’s new administration. Tom Price, Trump’s new health secretary, routinely won double-digit victories but the president barely carried the district in November.

With his “Make Trump Furious” campaign, Ossoff has emerged as the unquestioned leader in the 18-candidate field. He’s raised about $3.5 million, captured celebrity endorsements and enlisted thousands of volunteers.  He openly talks of winning the race outright in April to avoid a June 20 runoff.

“The campaign’s goal is not to get into a runoff, though we’ll be ready to fight a runoff if necessary,” Ossoff said Thursday. “The campaign’s goal is to win this election outright on April 18.”

With polls showing Ossoff hovering around 40 percent of the vote, that seems unlikely. And the odds are daunting in the runoff. There are 11 Republicans in the April 18 contest, and they are feuding with each other for the same slice of voters and donors. But the full weight of the GOP is expected to be behind whichever Republican lands the runoff spot. The White House, too, has pledged to help.

In the meantime, other conservative groups are trying to bog down Ossoff’s numbers with a barrage of attacks casting the 30-year-old former Congressional aide as an inexperienced Pelosi stooge. Ossoff dismisses them as a “partisan smear by Washington super PACs” that will be rejected by voters.

Watch the ad here:

More AJC coverage of the Sixth District race:

Ossoff fights 'top-secret' attacks in Georgia special election

An 18-candidate debate shows how jumbled Georgia special election is

Staff raids and social media hijinks: GOP infighting ramps up in Georgia Sixth

Republicans, Democrats target Ossoff in Georgia special election

How outside forces play an outsized role in Georgia’s 6th District race

House GOP health care plan divides Sixth District candidates

Jon Ossoff rattles conservatives in race for Georgia’s Sixth


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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.