After a widely covered primary yesterday, the special election in Georgia's sixth congressional district to replace Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price is sure to be on the national radar again.
Following yesterday’s primary with 18 candidates, a runoff election between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel will now take place on June 20.
Ossoff was about two points shy of at least 50 percent of the vote to capture the vacant seat. Handel had garnered over 19 percent of the vote, beating out 10 other Republican candidates.
Handel told CNN today that President Trump had called her after the results were tallied.
When asked if Trump will come to Georgia and campaign with her, Handel replied, “I hope so.”
Before the voting, Trump singled out Ossoff, a former film producer and ex-congressional aide who gained traction in the crowded field thanks to support from prominent legislators and a strong fundraising effort. The traditionally-red suburban Atlanta district just barely tipped for Trump in November and Democrats are seeking to capitalize on backlash against the president in June.
Ossoff, 30, is a first-time office seeker who was raised in the district just north of Georgia's largest city, but has faced criticism for currently living outside the area he hopes to represent -- a situation he claims is temporary. He holds a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University and a master's from the London School of Economics.
For five years, Ossoff worked as a staffer for Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., who represents the state's fourth congressional district. It was in this position that the Democrat says he "held a Top Secret security clearance while working with [the] military and intelligence community on counterterrorism, naval, air, and cybersecurity programs," according to his campaign website. Johnson and fellow Atlanta-area Congressman John Lewis, who Ossoff interned for, have been vocal supporters.
Republicans have attacked the Democrat for his inexperience and youth. In one advertisement, produced by the conservative super PAC Congressional Leadership Fund, Ossoff's national security bona fides are called inconsequential -- some of his work experience took place when he was still an undergraduate at Georgetown -- and he is shown singing with his college a capella group and dressed as "Star Wars" character Han Solo while discussing beer kegs.
Prior to his run for Congress, Ossoff owned a small business that produced investigative documentaries. His campaign website touts that the company's work "has taken down human traffickers, exposed dozens of corrupt officials around the world and uncovered atrocities committed by ISIS in Iraq."
Trump, who didn't endorse a particular Republican candidate during the primary, tweeted today, "Dems failed in Kansas and are now failing in Georgia. Great job Karen Handel! It is now Hollywood vs. Georgia on June 20th."
Dems failed in Kansas and are now failing in Georgia. Great job Karen Handel! It is now Hollywood vs. Georgia on June 20th.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 19, 2017
The president took specific aim at Ossoff earlier in the week, writing that he would be "VERY weak on crime and illegal immigration," "bad for jobs" and "will raise your taxes."
Democrat Jon Ossoff would be a disaster in Congress. VERY weak on crime and illegal immigration, bad for jobs and wants higher taxes. Say NO— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2017
Republicans must get out today and VOTE in Georgia 6. Force runoff and easy win! Dem Ossoff will raise your taxes-very bad on crime & 2nd A.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2017