The Georgia-06 Election began as a simple special election to replace a political appointee. In a normal America, this would be a local and somewhat somber election of local politicians dealing with local issues jockeying for a chance to represent them in the House. Instead, it turned into a nation-wide circus following the Primary which saw the Democratic candidate, Jon Ossoff, win the jungle primary with 48% against around two dozen Republican candidates to replace Rep Price, who is now a Trump appointee. The Democrats wished to turn this, and many other special elections, into a referendum on the Trump administration and use it as a boost for their attempts to win back footing in the 2018 midterm. However, just like all other special elections, they lost. Not only did they lose, they lost after committing an unimaginable amount of resources to the campaign.
Jon Ossoff faced off against Karen Handel in the election after he failed to win 50% in the primary and had to go to a run off with the second-place candidate. The Democrats attempted to use the widespread media mania of anti-Trumpism to win over swing voters in this solid Red district. They smelled blood when the district, which normally voted Republican by double digits, only voted Trump by a mere 2 points. They felt there was opportunity there and Ossoff even ran on an initial platform of “Make Trump Furious”. However, he had to walk that one back after having to appeal to more Moderates and Republicans. The Democrats attempt to turn this into a Trump referendum saw them pull out all the stops.
The Democrats pumped over $30 million into the Ossoff campaign, the largest war chest in House Election history. The vast majority of this money– about 80%– came from out-of-state donors with a sizable amount coming from California in particular. With this money Ossoff launched a campaign blitz including constant political ads, Celebrity endorsements, and even going to so far as to pay Lyft rides for voters to get to the polls and to run ads on a Korean-language station. There was no shortage of propaganda, expenditures, and outside influence. This is on top of constant positive media coverage coinciding with degrading coverage of Handel as a Deplorable. But to no avail.
The election, which took place last night, saw Ossoff’s $30 million move the needle around 0 points. He had 48% at the primary, he ended up losing with 48% of the vote. In other words, this was money down the drain. What can we make of this?
For one, the Democrats are going to have to come up with something better than just active resistance to anything Republican and actually appeal to voters with something other than standard issue Democrat talking points. They are going to have to engage the populous rather than demand from and be demeaning to those who do no share their world view. Georgia-06 is more a referendum on the Democrats who are now 0-5 in special elections including those in Kansas, Montana, South Carolina, and Georgia. They just had their lowest take in contributions for the month of May since 2003, at only $4 million while the Republicans continue to rack in record finances. The Democrats made a huge gamble and essential bet the farm at the craps table. It is now time to consider whether or not their strategy of anti-Trump, anti-American, anti-conservative, and pro-violent protests platform is actually working.