Seventh in a series of profiles of candidates in the 6th congressional special election.

ATLANTA, Ga – The surprising early leader in the special election to replace Tom Price in Congress doesn’t live in the district.

Democrat Jon Ossoff lives about 10 minutes south of the district, according to a campaign spokesman. Ossoff grew up in the district and has been registered to vote in it for many years. Ossoff’s parents also live in the district, and Ossoff moved out of the 6th and into an Emory-area neighborhood to be close to his girlfriend of 13 years, who started medical school.

As soon as she finishes school, Ossoff’s campaign said he plans to move back into the district.

A recent poll by zpolitics and Clout Research showed Ossoff, a local film executive, leading the 18-person field who are seeking to replace Price on Capitol Hill but within a seven-point margin of error. A former staffer for U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, Ossoff has endorsements from both Johnson and both U.S. Rep. John Lewis.

The poll conducted over the phone surveyed nearly 700 likely voters in the 6th district.

Ossoff said he didn’t know about the poll but is energized by what he calls “our huge grassroots support.

“People want respectful, competent leadership,” Ossoff said. “We’re not taking anything for granted.”

Ossoff’s standing in the polls, coupled with the fact that he doesn’t live in the district, may have placed a huge target on his back from the other 17 congressional hopefuls.

IMAGES JON OSSOFF

“I realize politics can be rough,” the first-time candidate said. “I and my team will keep working hard to build our momentum.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is putting money and staff in the race in an effort to turn the district from red to blue.

“I wasn’t aware of that news when it came out, but I have a great working relationship with the party at the national level,” Ossoff said.

IMAGE JON OSSOFF

The special election to replace Price, who is now President Donald Trump’s secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 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.

IMAGE JON OSSOFF

More than 200 volunteers launched Ossoff’s canvassing campaign this past weekend.