ATLANTA – All 18 candidates seeking to become Georgia’s next congressperson are set to appear at a debate on Wednesday, moderated by 11Alive’s Jeff Hullinger.
The event, which runs from 5 to 7 pm at downtown’s Georgia-Pacific Center, is part of the Atlanta Press Club Loudermilk-Young debate series, and will be streamed live here and on our Facebook page.
“With so many candidates on stage, it’s tough to say how much depth we’re going to see in terms of the issues,” Hullinger said. “My job is to keep the candidates in line and keep them on point if they start disagreeing with each other.”
An exclusive poll commissioned by 11Alive News and conducted by SurveyUSA shows Democrat and political newcomer Jon Ossoff dominating in the race to replace Tom Price in Georgia's sixth Congressional district.
Price was named Donald Trump’s secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services, leaving a vacuum that will be filled through an April 18 special election and, if needed, a June 20 runoff. The race has drawn national attention, including from chief White House strategist Steve Bannon, as both parties scramble to grab the seat.
In the 11Alive poll, Ossoff grabs 43% of likely voters. Republicans Karen Handel (15%), Bob Gray (14%), and Dan Moody (7%) round out the top four. All other candidates combined make up 15%, and an additional 7% are undecided.
Right now, Ossoff polls below the 50% needed to avoid a runoff.
"Identifying likely voter samples is incredibly hard in special elections because these elections don’t establish the patterns of regular elections," political analyst and Emory professor Andra Gillespie said. "It would not change the likely reality that Ossoff has consolidated his lead among Republicans and will likely end up in the runoff; but it does have implications for the likelihood that Ossoff could win on a first ballot."
The seat has been in GOP hands since 1978, with such Republican stalwarts Newt Gingrich and Johnny Isakson having held the position.
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.
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