U.S. Democrats hope to strike blow at Trump in Georgia congressional race




By Andy Sullivan

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. (Reuters) - U.S. Democrats hope frustration with President Donald Trump will give them a surprise victory on Tuesday in an election to fill a vacant congressional seat in suburban Atlanta that has been held by Republicans for decades.

As voting concluded on Tuesday, Democrat Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old political novice, was expected to come out atop a field of 18 candidates vying for a U.S. House of Representatives seat that was vacated when Trump named Tom Price as his health secretary.

The drama hinged on whether the documentary filmmaker would win an outright majority of the vote, which would send him to Congress, or if he would fall short of 50 percent and be forced into a June 20 runoff with one of the 11 Republicans in the race.

An Ossoff win would not tip the balance of power in Washington but could weaken the already shaky hold Trump has on his fellow Republicans by encouraging lawmakers to distance themselves from him.

"It's a test case for how far a Democratic candidate can go in a Republican district on the strength of opposition to Trump," said Todd Rehm, a Georgia Republican strategist who is not affiliated with any candidate in the race.

The district, which encompasses a swath of well-heeled suburbs north of Atlanta, has elected Republicans to the House since the late 1970s, but Trump carried it by only 1 percentage point in the November presidential election.

Republicans in the race are split among Trump supporters and candidates trying to hold the president at arm's length. Party officials say they can beat Ossoff once the primary is over and they unite behind a single candidate.

The party avoided embarrassment last week when it narrowly held a conservative Kansas seat vacated when Trump tapped Republican Representative Mike Pompeo to head the Central Intelligence Agency.

'MAKE TRUMP FURIOUS'

With the slogan "Make Trump Furious," Ossoff aims to galvanize opposition to a president struggling with an approval rating that has not topped 50 percent since he took office on Jan. 20, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling.

Ossoff has drawn volunteers and donors from out of state who see the race as a way to strike a blow against Trump. He raised a stunning $8.3 million in the first three months of the year, fueling a robust campaign.

"They were ringing my phone off the hook," said Kim Fambro, 45, who said the outreach convinced her to vote for Ossoff.

Trump blasted Ossoff on Twitter and said in a robocall that the Democrat would "raise your taxes, destroy your healthcare, and flood our country with illegal immigrants."

Ossoff said on CNN that Trump was misinformed about his positions and that he was focused on issues affecting the region, not Washington.

Republicans have responded with millions of dollars of spending of their own, casting Ossoff as an inexperienced outsider who does not live in the area he hopes to represent. Ossoff, who grew up in the district, says he will move back if he wins.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Additional reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Just 14 words at Trump
Just 14 words at Trump's Arizona rally may have caused Ben Carson to violate an ethics law

Just 14 words may have caused Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson to violate an...

Police fire pepper spray to disperse protesters outside Trump rally in Phoenix
Police fire pepper spray to disperse protesters outside Trump rally in Phoenix
  • US
  • 2017-08-23 06:05:27Z

Police fired pepper spray to disperse protesters outside a rally by U.S. President Donald Trump in Phoenix, Arizona, on Tuesday after being pelted with rocks and bottles, police said. Police have not given an estimate of the number of protesters, but Arizona media said there were several thousand. "People in the crowd have begun throwing rocks and bottles at police," Phoenix Police Department spokesman Sergeant Jonathan Howard said.

White House renews request for privacy for Trump
White House renews request for privacy for Trump's young son

The White House on Tuesday renewed its request to the news media for privacy for President Donald Trump's young son, Barron, after a conservative news and opinion website criticized the casual attire he ...

Trump backs off Afghan withdrawal, lambasts Pakistan
Trump backs off Afghan withdrawal, lambasts Pakistan

"My instinct was to pull out" Trump admitted as he spoke of frustration with a war that has killed thousands of US troops and cost US taxpayers trillions of dollars. While Trump refused to offer detailed troop numbers, senior White House officials said he had already authorized his defense secretary to deploy up to 3,900 more troops to Afghanistan. A conflict that began in October 2001 as a hunt for the 9/11 attackers has turned into a vexed effort to keep Afghanistan's divided and corruption-hindered democracy alive amid a brutal Taliban insurgency.

Anger over rally violence boils over in Charlottesville
Anger over rally violence boils over in Charlottesville

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Anger boiled over at the first Charlottesville City Council meeting since a white nationalist rally in the city descended into violent chaos, with some residents screaming and cursing at councilors Monday night and calling for their resignations.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.