Ge­or­gia House race eclipses $50 mil­lion

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY SETH MCLAUGHLIN

TUCKER, GA. | The price tag of the Ge­or­gia spe­cial con­gres­sional elec­tion has climbed north of $50 mil­lion, mak­ing it the most ex­pen­sive House race ever.

The can­di­dates, the na­tional party com­mit­tees and out­side in­ter­est groups have all poured money into the race, leav­ing even one of the pros in­volved in the ef­fort stunned.

“We can’t spend that sum of money on every race and we won’t spend that sum of money on every race,” Na­tional Re­pub­li­can Con­gres­sional Com­mit­tee Chair­man Steve Stivers said on MSNBC. “But this race has taken on sort of an out­sized im­pact be­cause it is the only race that the Democrats seem to be fo­cus­ing on.”

Cam­paign fi­nance fil­ings show that as of May 31, Demo­crat Jon Os­soff had raised more than $23 mil­lion since en­ter­ing the race to re­place Rep. Tom Price, who va­cated the seat to be­come sec­re­tary of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices. Re­pub­li­can Karen Han­del had pulled in over $4.5 mil­lion.

Com­bined with out­side ef­forts, though, the price tag is much higher.

“The race be­tween Demo­crat Jon Os­soff and Re­pub­li­can Karen Han­del is the most ex­pen­sive con­gres­sional race in his­tory, eas­ily over­tak­ing Florida 18’s 2012 elec­tion, which cost $29.5 mil­lion,” Sara Swann, of the Cen­ter for Re­spon­sive Pol­i­tics, said in an anal­y­sis of the race re­leased Mon­day.

Democrats say the race is a ref­er­en­dum on Pres­i­dent Trump. The GOP says it’s a chance for vot­ers to ex­press dis­plea­sure with Democrats’ ob­struc­tion.

Mrs. Han­del sug­gested Mon­day that the race would not as close as it is if it were not for Mr. Os­soff’s fundrais­ing edge.

“The Democrats put a lot of money into this,” she told re­porters Mon­day. “I mean not for noth­ing. A squir­rel is go­ing to get a pretty de­cent per­cent­age of the vote if he has $30 mil­lion be­hind him.”

Mr. Os­soff, mean­while, down­played his fundrais­ing ad­van­tage, and played up the fact that his cam­paign has 12,000 vol­un­teers, say­ing work­ing with that sort of grass-roots en­ergy has been “up­lift­ing and ex­cit­ing.”

“When you have tens of mil­lions of dol­lars of at­tack ads pour­ing in here from my un­ac­count­able Wash­ing­ton su­per PACs it is nec­es­sary to raise the re­sources to fight back, and I am proud of the fact that the cam­paign has done it through small dol­lar grass-roots fundrais­ing with an av­er­age con­tri­bu­tion of $50,” he said.

The Con­gres­sional Lead­er­ship Fund, a su­per PAC aligned with House GOP lead­ers, has put $7 mil­lion into the race and the NRCC has in­vested $6.7 mil­lion.

The Demo­cratic Con­gres­sional Cam­paign Com­mit­tee has fun­nelled more than $6 mil­lion into the race and the Planned Par­ent­hood Ac­tion fund has spent over $800,000.

The tele­vi­sion and ra­dio air­waves here have been blan­keted with cam­paign ads, and vot­ers have been in­un­dated with phone calls, mail­ers and can­vassers who have been show­ing up on their doorsteps urg­ing them to vote.

The Os­soff cam­paign ran ads Mon­day in which he vowed to pri­or­i­tize high-tech and biotech re­search to cre­ate more high­pay­ing jobs and to make sure “our mil­i­tary and in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity have every tool they need to fight ter­ror­ism.” An­other ad high­lighted Mrs. Han­del’s op­po­si­tion to fund­ing Planned Par­ent­hood.

The Han­del cam­paign ran ads push­ing back against the idea that she is anti-woman, and con­trast­ing her record against that of Mr. Os­soff and high­light­ing the fact that he lives just out­side the con­gres­sional dis­trict.

“I have a proven record in the pri­vate sec­tor and in pub­lic ser­vice — ex­pe­ri­ence want to put to work for you,” Mrs. Han­del says in a com­mer­cial. “My op­po­nent doesn’t live here, doesn’t share our val­ues. He has raised mil­lions out­side of Ge­or­gia from Nancy Pelosi and out­siders that just don’t share our pri­or­i­ties.”

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