TV seems a little quieter now that Georgia’s sixth district special election is over. On June 20, 2017, Republican Karen Handel clenched the congressional seat over her opponent Democrat Jon Ossoff. Long gone are the back to back attack ads from both parties, threatening packages being sent to candidates, and the funneling of money into both campaigns – totaling over $50 million. Why was this election so competitive?
In a district where Republicans have lost the large margins they had been winning by, both parties saw this district election as a test to see how the first few months of Donald Trump’s presidency have affected voter opinions. If the district voted blue, Democrats could use the victory as the first step to taking back the House in 2018. On the other hand, if the district went red, Republicans could be confident that no matter the number of scandals that surround the president, conservatives will still stand by Republican candidates.
The primary suburban area that includes some of Cobb, DeKalb, and Fulton county will be represented by Handel.
She is a self-described “unwavering conservative fighter.” In recent years, Handel has expressed an anti-LGBT stance. She is opposed to same-sex marriage and recently stated that she believed same-sex couples adopting a child is “not in the best interest of the child.” Handel is also quoted as not supporting a “livable” wage when asked about raising the minimum wage. She opposes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. and supports defunding Planned Parenthood.
Democrats suffered recent special election losses not only in Georgia, but also in Kansas, Montana, and South Carolina. As the GOP works to disrupt healthcare for millions of Americans with a repeal of Obamacare and cut taxes for the wealthiest, Karen Handel’s conservative vote in the House may keep this pattern going.