Democrats all over the country and the media are paying exorbitant amounts of attention to a congressional race in Georgia, the seat that was left vacant when Trump appointed Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Jon Ossoff is the Democrat’s nominee, and he’s going up against Republican Karen Handel on June 20.
Democrats and pundits alike think this one local race is so important that they’re looking at it as a ‘referendum’ on Trump. It’s a consistently red congressional district. If this guy Jon Ossoff wins, it will mean that the ‘resistance’ is succeeding against Trump. Or, at least that’s what the Democrats and the media will tell themselves.
The media has taken a keen interest in the race, possibly because of how much they might stand to gain. If they can make this a truly national phenomenon, they might get a little piece of the ad revenue pie. It’s already proven to be the most expensive congressional race in our nation’s history. Politico reported:
Candidates and outside groups have aired or reserved more than $29.7 million worth of TV ads in the race to replace HHS Secretary Tom Price in Congress, which will break a five-year-old record for House spending — highlighting the outsized importance a sliver of the Atlanta suburbs has taken on in national politics.
It is plainly more money than one House race out of 435 needs. Cash is flowing in at such saturation levels that Democrat Jon Ossoff’s campaign had the money for everything from Korean radio ads to free Lyft rides for voters on primary day. The Atlanta NBC station has even bumped reruns of “The Andy Griffith Show” from their regular slot in order to extend its local newscasts and make more room for political ads.
“Everybody has shoved their chips into the middle of the table, and neither side can afford to lose,” said former GOP Rep. Tom Davis, who chaired the NRCC from 1998 to 2002 and said the record-breaking spending has elevated the race into a “real test of narrative” for both parties.
“Republicans can’t afford to lose this because it changes the narrative and it makes it easier for Democrats to recruit candidates and fundraise,” Davis said. “If Democrats lose, then it punctures their narrative of a coming anti-Trump wave.”
The cost of the race between Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel is going to shatter the previous recorded high of $29.6 million — set in Palm Beach County, Fla., in 2012 by former GOP Rep. Allen West, former Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy and outside groups, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The $29.7 million total in Georgia, compiled by a source tracking media spending in the district, only includes money spent on TV ads.
Political strategists are estimating that this race could cost as much as $40 million by the end of the campaign.
If Ossoff loses, expect the media and the Democrats to remind us all that it was only a local race that’s basically irrelevant. Or, they’ll find a way to explain how his loss was actually a win.
If he wins, they’ll predict that Trump will step down from the presidency the next day.