Political Insider

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Your guide to the leading candidates in Georgia's special election

A field of 18 candidates is running in Tuesday’s special election to represent the 6th Congressional District, which stretches from east Cobb County across north Fulton County to north DeKalb County. The seat opened when Tom Price vacated it to become President Donald Trump’s secretary of health and human services. With such a large number of candidates, a runoff is almost certain. It would be held June 20.

Read here about the last-minute campaigning and why the race is at the center of the national spotlight.

And below you can find a closer look at the candidates who have climbed above the the low single digits in various polls: Bob Gray, Karen Handel, Judson Hill, Dan Moody and Jon Ossoff.

Bob Gray

The former Johns Creek councilman and business executive has cast himself as somebody who will work as a “willing partner” with President Donald Trump. Another Republican candidate in the race, Bruce LeVell, who led a minority outreach program for the Trump campaign, has challenged Gray’s bona fides as a supporter of the president. LeVell’s most recent charge pointed out that Gray has the backing of the conservative Club for Growth, which has been a vocal Trump critic. Gray has said that he never heard of the Club for Growth before it offered its support to him.

What was perhaps Gray’s most notable position on the City Council was his opposition to a half-cent sales tax to extend MARTA further north along Ga. 400. During a debate featuring all 18 6th District candidates, following the bridge collapse on I-85, Gray remained fairly unsupportive of MARTA, advocating for different options, including rapid bus transit, autonomous vehicles and heavy rail, depending on how densely populated an area is.

A financial disclosure shows that Gray has $2.3 million in assets, largely from investments and his work as a director of the Ammacore tech firm. He also owns four condos at the On Top of the World complex in Clearwater, Fla., worth at least $250,000.

Karen Handel

After serving as Georgia’s first Republican secretary of state, Handel narrowly lost her battle for the GOP nomination for governor in 2010. She was the top vote-getter in the primary but lost the runoff to Nathan Deal. In 2012, she resigned from a leadership role with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation after it reversed its decision to cut ties with the abortion rights group Planned Parenthood. In 2014, she ran for an open U.S. Senate seat but finished in third place in the Republican primary.

Her resume also includes leading the Fulton County Commission as its chairwoman; working in the office of Marilyn Quayle, the wife of then-Vice President Dan Quayle; and serving as deputy chief of staff to then-Gov. Sonny Perdue.

A financial disclosure shows that Handel has more than $300,000 in assets, mostly from several investment accounts and mutual funds. She said her consulting firm, Handel Strategy Group, earned about $10,000 last year and is worth between $15,000 and $50,000. Another firm owned by her husband, Steve, the text-messaging service TextGov, is valued at less than $50,000.

Judson Hill

Hill entered the state Senate in 2005, representing an area stretching from Cobb County to Sandy Springs.

In the Senate, the Republican served as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and was a strong supporter for moving the state away from collecting taxes on income and relying more on sales taxes. He also was a staunch opponent of legalizing gambling in the state.

The former assistant U.S. attorney graduated from Emory University and the law school at Mercer University.

Hill was the most successful fundraiser among the 11 Republican candidates in the special election, taking in $473,000, according to financial disclosures that were released earlier this month.

Dan Moody

Moody served from 2003 to 2011 in the state Senate, where he was a member of the leadership team as chairman of the Republican caucus.

He also served at one time as chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, and after leaving the chamber, he wrote in 2011 that “Georgia has one of the toughest ethics laws” in the country.

Moody, who rose to become a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, also served on the state Board of Transportation.

A financial disclosure shows that Moody, who holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, has more than $26 million in assets, including a SunTrust account with at least $5 million.

Jon Ossoff

Ossoff was a 17-year-old student at the Paideia School when he read U.S. Rep. John Lewis’ autobiography and was moved to ask the congressman for a job. That turned into an internship in the Atlanta Democrat’s Washington office. As a student at Georgetown University, Ossoff volunteered for Hank Johnson’s 2006 campaign to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney. Ossoff rose to become the deputy communications chief of the campaign, and after Johnson’s congressional victory, Ossoff worked as a legislative aide to the new congressman.

After leaving Johnson’s office, Ossoff — who also is a graduate of the London School of Economics — joined a filmmaking firm, and the topics of his documentaries include corrupt judges in Ghana and atrocities that the Islamic State committed in Iraq.

The north DeKalb County native does not reside in the 6th Congressional District, living just south of it so his girlfriend of 12 years, an Emory University medical student, can walk to work. Members of Congress don’t have to live in their districts, but Ossoff has said he will move to the 6th after she graduates.

A financial disclosure shows Ossoff has more than $1.7 million in assets, including more than $250,000 in Apple stock and an additional $50,000 in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway investment firm. His England-based documentary company, Insight TWI, is valued at more than $250,000. He also has a stake of at least $50,000 in NWC Partnership, a solar panel installation firm.



Other candidates

David Abroms (Republican): A business executive and former congressional aide.

Mohammad Ali Bhuiyan (Republican): A Cobb County economist who led an aborted effort to hold a Nobel peace summit in Atlanta.

Ragin Edwards (Democrat): The east Cobb County resident is a sales manager.

Keith Grawert (Republican): A U.S. Air Force pilot and Dunwoody resident who wants to “return public service to Washington.”

Alexander Hernandez (independent): A political newcomer, Hernandez is running on a platform of boosting Medicare spending, supporting new investments in infrastructure and backing term limits.

Richard Keatley (Democrat): A college professor from Tucker and a U.S. Navy veteran who pledges to fight to make college debt-free.

Amy Kremer (Republican): A tea party activist and cable news pundit.

Bruce LeVell (Republican): The Dunwoody jeweler headed Trump’s diversity coalition. He also once led the Gwinnett County GOP and served on MARTA’s board for five years.

William Llop (Republican): A Sandy Springs accountant who said he will run as a “financial expert” who can help reduce the federal debt.

Andre Pollard (independent): A Milton computer systems engineer who is running on a tech-friendly platform.

Rebecca Quigg (Democrat): The physician is making the preservation of the Affordable Care Act the centerpiece of her campaign.

Ron Slotin (Democrat): A former publisher of Atlanta Jewish Life, Slotin represented a north Atlanta district in the state Senate until he launched an unsuccessful bid in 1996 to oust U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney.

Kurt Wilson (Republican): A Roswell small business owner who is campaigning in support of term limits.

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