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How to Follow the Georgia Race

 

Handel vs Ossoff

THE HILL Turnout is booming in the district, and polling indicates that the winner could be decided by just a small fraction of votes. Here’s where each candidate needs to come out on top.

Ossoff

DeKalb County

Ossoff should do well in DeKalb, a Democratic stronghold, but it also has the fewest number of registered voters in the congressional district. Ossoff will have to maximize turnout there, running up his vote tally before returns come in from less friendly counties.

The DeKalb portion of the district was the only place where Ossoff outperformed the top four Republican candidates during April’s all-party special election. There, he won about 9,000 more votes than Handel, Bob Gray, Judson Hill and Dan Moody. Democrats have pulled 70 percent of the total vote in some DeKalb precincts, offering Ossoff his best opportunity for a big vote haul.Black voters

Every poll of the race has Ossoff outpacing Handel with black voters. By comparison, some polls show Handel receiving just single-digit support among African-Americans. That makes getting black voters to the polls key for Ossoff.

Ossoff has campaigned frequently with civil rights icon and longtime Georgia Democratic Congressman John Lewis, who joined him on the trail over the weekend. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has also spent about a half-million dollars targeting African-American voters in the district.

Black voters in Georgia’s 6th District are most concentrated in the DeKalb section of the district, making up 16 percent of voters, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Young voters

Ossoff, 30, is also relying on young voters. While young adults are far more likely to back Democrats, they’re also less likely to be registered to vote than older Americans. Democrats have focused on young voter outreach as part of their turnout work.

Ossoff’s youth could help him win the votes of some of his peers. The race also received outsized attention from celebrities like Kristen Bell, Connie Britton and Chelsea Handler, who have looked to rally their fans for Ossoff.

Handel

Fulton and Cobb counties

Republicans hold the advantage in this seat thanks to the strong GOP turnout in the Fulton and Cobb portions of the district.

More than 75 percent of the votes cast in April came from those two counties, so if Handel can turn out in her strongholds, it could be an early night.

In all, Democrats ran about 10,000 votes behind Republicans in Cobb County precincts, while they edged out the Democrats in the Fulton precincts.

The reddest parts of the district are in the far north, a part of Fulton, and the far west, a part of Cobb. During April’s special election, Democrats won just four precincts in that portion of Fulton and just eight precincts in that portion of Cobb.

Female voters

Virtually all polling shows that Ossoff has the edge with female voters. Handel has to focus on keeping Ossoff’s advantage with women as slim as possible.

White female voters in the suburbs are a key constituency for Handel. Democrats are hoping that Trump’s controversial comments about women, as well as the House GOP’s poor approval ratings among women, cause these voters to jump ship.

But Democrats were also expecting that a mass exodus of white women from the GOP in 2016 would block Trump’s presidential ambitions — defections that never came.

Moderate Republican voters

Now that the race has moved to a runoff, Republicans are hopeful that Ossoff’s near-majority in the April primary has injected a sense of urgency into Republicans that will bring them to the polls for Handel.

While Trump’s victory margin in the district was slim in 2016, the district has traditionally elected GOP representatives by wide margins. If Handel can repeat that success with moderate Republicans, those votes will put her close to a win in what has traditionally been a solidly red district.


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