ATLANTA, Ga -- The nation's most closely watched election could come to an end next Tuesday, or enter into a runoff that will raise the stakes even higher.
Vvoters in Atlanta's 6th congressional district will go to the polls one week from today to elect a U.S. representative.
Early voting ends Friday in the race to replace Tom Price, now President Donald Trump’s secretary of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. A total of 18 candidates are in the race, with the actual election set for Tuesday, April 18. The only way to avoid a June 20 runoff would be if one candidate receives 50 percent-plus-one.
The 6th district has been held by Republicans since 1978; such GOP stalwarts as Newt Gingrich and Johnny Isakson have served in the seat.
But national Democrats see an opportunity to pick off a traditionally “red” seat and gain some strong momentum heading into the 2018 midterms. Trump himself only carried the district by less than two points over Hillary Clinton, one of last November’s biggest electoral swings.
Here’s where the race stands with one week to go:
Democrat Jon Ossoff: The first-time candidate continues to dominate the field, fueling speculation -- unthinkable a month ago -- that he could win the contest outright next week.
In an exclusive 11Alive poll released last week, Ossoff grabbed 43% of likely voters. Republicans Karen Handel (15%), Bob Gray (14%), and Dan Moody (7%) round out the top four.
On Wednesday, Ossoff will tour the facilities of Generation Orbit in Chamblee. He and Generation Orbit CEO AJ Piplica will discuss the importance of high-tech innovation to metro Atlanta.
Ossoff has had the backing of numerous state and national Democratic organizations since the start. On Monday, End Citizens United, a campaign finance reform organization, released its first digital ad for Ossoff that will run through next Tuesday. Entitled “Tireless and Effective,” the ad is designed to highlight the candidate’s “record fighting corruption and advocating for meaningful campaign finance reform,” according to the group.
“Jon’s grassroots support can propel him to a victory on Tuesday,” said ECU executive director Tiffany Muller, claiming that Ossoff may be able to win the race outright and without a runoff.
Bob Gray: A top Trump surrogate will campaign for Gray on Friday and Saturday, kicking off the final weekend of campaigning. Karen Giorno is former southeast director and senior political advisor for the Trump campaign. After successfully leading Trump in the Florida primary, she then oversaw the Trump campaign’s southeast operations.
Karen Handel: Campaign manager John Porter said Handel will be phoning voters on Saturday, and then focusing on East Cobb and Fulton voters. More than 100 volunteers will be canvassing the district on Saturday.
Handel's latest TV commercial hit the airwaves last week:
Dan Moody: Spokesman Dan McLagan said the campaign plans a final-weekend door-knocking campaign on Saturday.