13th in a series of profiles of candidates in the 6th congressional special election.
JOHNS CREEK, Ga – Bob Gray is polling above other high-profile Republicans in the 6th congressional district, including a longtime state senator who recently pulled down an endorsement from U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.
In a new poll released late Monday, Gray was polling behind Democrat Jon Ossoff and fellow Republican Karen Handel in the 18-person race to replace Tom Price, now President Donald Trump’s secretary of Health and Human Services.
“This is going to come down to a race between the three of us,” Gray, who has lived in Johns Creek for more than two decades, said. “You have to understand today’s political climate. People are tired of the political establishment and elite. We’re seeing that reflected in the fact that outsiders are being elected to political office.”
Gray's campaign has been relatively quiet and under the radar, while Ossoff has made news with backing from the national Democratic Party; Handel's growing list of local endorsements; and state Sen. Judson Hill's endorsement from Rubio.
But Gray is confident that Handel’s campaign will falter and that the district will remain solidly red.
“[Handel’s] previous campaigns for governor in 2010 and U.S. Senate in 2014 shows she can’t maintain momentum,” Gray said. Handel, Georgia’s first female secretary of state, lost to eventual winners Nathan Deal and David Perdue, respectively.
As for Ossoff, Democrat hopes that the district will turn blue “are a fantasy.
“This is a non-story,” Gray said. “There’s a lot of hype and some Hollywood money coming into the race, but this district is going to remain solidly red.”
The special election is set for April 18. All of the candidates will appear on one ballot, and a runoff is virtually assured in the race. The only way to avoid a runoff would be if one candidate receives 50 percent-plus-one on April 18, almost an impossibility in such a crowded race.
The district includes portions of Atlanta, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Dunwoody, Doraville, Tucker, Sandy Springs, Roswell, Alpharetta, Johns Creek Milton and Mountain Park. Before it was last redrawn as part of Census reapportionment, Republicans Newt Gingrich and Johnny Isakson held the seat.
“No one is going to outwork me in this campaign,” Gray said. “We were first out of the gate in early January with a website, a social media presence, a robo-call and signs; we blanketed the district with signs over one weekend. We’re going to continue to run hard.”