Seven years after losing her run for Georgia Governor, Karen Handel is jumping back into politics. The lure of an empty congressional seat has created a political scramble and a full-on sprint to a special election on April 18.
Eighteen candidates are running to fill the 6th Congressional District's seat in Georgia which was left open after Tom Price was named Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Trump administration.
"This is an election that's going to be about results. Republicans have had 8 years to talk about all of the things we wanted to do. It's now time to deliver," Handel said after officially qualifying to run for the election.
When asked if the short and crowded campaign would make winning more difficult, Handel said she was "going to run the way I always have, which is to be the hardest worker on this campaign. No one will outwork me."
Candidates were scrambling to enter through the 1 p.m. Wednesday deadline. The final list includes eleven Republicans, five Democrats, and two Independents:
- David Abroms (R)
- Mohammad Ali Bhuiyan (R)
- Keith Grawert (R)
- Bob Gray (R)
- Karen Handel (R)
- Judson Hill (R)
- Amy Kremer (R)
- Bruce LeVell (R)
- William Llop (R)
- Dan Moody (R)
- Kurt Wilson (R)
- Alexander Hernandez (I)
- Andre Pollard (I)
- Ragin Edwards (D)
- Richard Keatley (D)
- Jon Ossoff (D)
- Rebecca Quigg (D)
- Ron Slotin (D)
Andra Gillespie, an Emory University political science professor, said it's shaping up to be "an interesting race".
"I expect that it will get a lot of attention as a potential bellwether for what could happen in 2018," Gillespie said.
Trump carried the 6th Congressional District by just 1 percent, but Gillespie warns the special election will be a very different group of voters.
"Ultimately, I think the candidates who will be advantaged in this race will be those who are organized, well-funded and have good name recognition," Gillespie said. "Handel has these advantages, but so does Judson Hill. I also don’t rule out Democrats rallying behind a candidate like Ron Slotin and making it to a runoff. And I don’t underestimate the potential of candidates like Amy Kremer, Bruce Levell and Jon Ossoff."
If you want to vote in the special election, you must register to vote before March 20, 2017. A runoff election, if needed, will be held on June 20, 2017.