Dems look south to test anti-Trump strategy

In some other words, This specific isn’t the type of place where Democrats often seek solace.

There’s little reliable polling about the contest as well as also, given recent political history, Democrats are careful not to display overconfidence. however the party will be optimistic about its main candidate within the race, 30-year-old Jon Ossoff, a former congressional staffer who could benefit coming from demographic modifications within the district as well as also includes a $4 million campaign war chest largely funded by modest donors. however most importantly, Democrats sense a distrust of Trump which could help them here as well as also in some other wealthy, highly-educated as well as also increasingly diverse congressional districts around the country which might otherwise support Republicans.

There’s data to back up their suspicions. This specific district experienced one of the biggest collapses in support for a Republican presidential candidate last year (the biggest shift played out in Utah). While Mitt Romney bested Barack Obama by 23 points here in 2012, Trump beat Clinton by less than 2 points, according to data coming from the liberal Daily Kos as well as also confirmed by representatives for both the Democratic as well as also Republican congressional campaign committees.

This specific suburban region will be the epicenter of an evolution which played out across the Sun Belt last year however was largely overshadowed by Trump’s stunning victories in traditionally Democratic strongholds within the industrial Midwest. In Georgia as well as also Arizona, where Clinton only made a last-minute effort to compete, she came closer to beating Trump than she did within the more traditional swing states of Ohio as well as also Iowa. Reliably red Texas was also closer than Iowa.
Democrats’ chances of flipping GOP House seats in 5 special elections, ranked

So what does the idea all mean? completely new battlegrounds are emerging as well as also the idea’s hard to know how the idea will all shake out.

“Georgia’s no closer than Ohio?” Gingrich said during a recent conversation. “With everything you as well as also I knew about politics up until Election Night 2016, we’d have thought which was impossible.”

Energized Democrats

Democrats in Atlanta’s conservative-leaning northern suburbs are feeling something they’re not used to: energy.

As the national party gathered in a downtown ballroom on a Saturday morning last month to elect Perez as the DNC chief, more than 300 people turned out to a Democratic breakfast in Cobb County, just northwest of the city. The standing room only crowd was a noteworthy showing in a county which drew nationwide attention during the 1990s for passing a resolution condemning homosexuality.

“the idea’s bigger than you know,” Jaha Howard, a dentist who narrowly lost a surprisingly close state Senate race as well as also will be seen locally as a rising star, told me after the breakfast. “as well as also the idea’s a bigger tent of Democrats than we typically see.”

Three hours later, hundreds more showed up in Roswell, where Ossoff was holding the first of two events to kick off his campaign’s door-to-door canvassing efforts.

Democrats are optimistic about Jon Ossoff's bid to win a special election to succeed Tom cost in Congress. "the idea has very little to do with me as well as also more to do with the timing as well as also intensity of grassroots enthusiasm," he says.

“the idea has very little to do with me as well as also more to do with the timing as well as also intensity of grassroots enthusiasm,” Ossoff told me the previous night as he sipped tea alongside his longtime girlfriend, a student at the nearby Emory University medical school, at Meehan’s Public House, a downtown Irish bar. “I think Atlanta can become — as well as also Georgia can become — an economic powerhouse. I think which people here want access to more affordable health care choices. as well as also I think people here are concerned which we’re losing sight of those values.”

Democrats’ hopes here ride largely on the party’s appeal to a large pool of suburban women, many of whom are relying on social media to organize. Hundreds have joined the Facebook page of a group called Liberal Moms of Roswell as well as also Cobb or “LMRC” — a coalition of progressives within the heart of the district.

Over coffee at the “Land of a Thousand Hills” in Roswell, three of the group’s leaders told me the same story about discovering its existence. Their first thought: “I thought I was the only one.” The group as well as also others like the idea are giving liberals completely new opportunities to express themselves in communities where which previously didn’t feel like an option.

“initially I put an Obama sign in our yard, our neighbor came over as well as also jokingly threatened our lives,” said Shari Sprigle, one of the group’s members.

She said she was harassed while driving once, too. “Somebody honked at me to get me to roll down my window. My kid was within the back seat. I rolled down my window as well as also she goes, ‘Are you going to vote for Obama?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I am’ — you know, I thought she was, like, friendly. as well as also then she told me I was going to hell. …which’s the environment here in Cobb County.”

currently, she said, the group has “LMRC” car magnets — as well as also a game. When a member sees another member’s vehicle in a parking lot, they flip those magnets upside down as a way to indicate the driver has been noticed. the idea’s a way of sending a message: You’re not alone.

Two co-founders — Jen Cox as well as also Lesley Bauer — recently split off to form another women’s group, named PaveItBlue, with an even narrower focus: Provide the grassroots support Ossoff will need to flip the 6th district for Democrats. Their first meeting was on a recent Sunday night.

Cox said members of the groups love to see — as well as also participate in — “visibility efforts,” which provide a psychological boost in an area where Democrats have long felt demoralized, as well as also particularly for working mothers who don’t have time to phone bank or canvass for candidates.

“the idea energizes them like they’ve never felt, as well as also the idea creates which feeling, like, ‘Oh my gosh, I am an activist.’ as well as also which’s powerful,” Cox said.

“Your data may not show which visibility efforts work, which having signs up here work. however we’re telling you which the idea hits us at an emotional level — which there’s wish,” she said. “You know, This specific will be Newt Gingrich country. We’ve been left out for an entire generation. We don’t feel left out anymore.”

Replacing Tom cost

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal set a special election for April 18 to replace cost. the idea’s a “jungle” contest — which means every candidate will be listed on the same ballot. If one of the 18 declared so far hits 50% plus one, he or she will be the winner. If which doesn’t happen, the top two finishers — regardless of party — advance to a June 20 runoff.

Already, 11 Republicans have entered the race — including former Georgia secretary of state Karen Handel, former state senator Judson Hill, as well as also Bruce LeVell, who helmed Trump’s national diversity coalition as well as also appears to be the first Trump aide to seek office since the billionaire businessman’s election.

Two independents are within the running, as well.

Handel leads the way among the GOP, however Republicans are sharply divided over their field of candidates. Handel faces opposition coming from the conservative Club for Growth, which has launched TV ads attacking her spending as secretary of state as well as also Fulton County commissioner as well as also labeling her a “big-spending, career politician we can’t trust with our money.”

Dan Moody, meanwhile, got a big boost This specific week when Sen. David Perdue endorsed him in a 30-second TV spot, declaring the former state representative as well as also businessman “one of us” who “cares more about getting results than getting credit.”

The Democratic field, though, narrowed almost instantly, with one serious contender among the several declared candidates: Ossoff, who grew up within the northeastern Atlanta suburbs. Years earlier, Ossoff caught the attention of two of Georgia’s most powerful Democrats — Reps. John Lewis as well as also Hank Johnson.

Ossoff impressed Lewis enough by writing letters to his office as a high school student which the civil rights legend offered him an internship. Then, after Johnson was elected in 2006, he hired Ossoff on Lewis’s recommendation to work on his Washington staff while Ossoff was still a student at Georgetown University. Ossoff was as a staffer for Johnson for several years before going to the London School of Economics for a master’s degree as well as also then launching a documentary film company.

As he considered his candidacy, Ossoff lined up meetings with Johnson as well as also Lewis, leaving with both of their endorsements.

As we sat within the Rayburn Room just outside the House chamber This specific month, Johnson heaped praise on Ossoff, saying the idea was the then-college student’s use of Facebook which launched him to victory in 2006. So when Ossoff said he believed he could win, Johnson trusted his former staffer’s political mind.

“Between me as well as also you — I certainly had my negative thought about whether or not Jon could win. however there was never any hesitation in terms of whether or not I would certainly support him,” Johnson said.

“The demographics of the state are changing,” the six-term Democratic lawmaker said. the idea took “contortion” for Republicans to keep their seats safe after 2010, he said. however eventually, Johnson argued, the changing tides can’t be stopped.

The support of Lewis as well as also Johnson was enough to convince the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee which the party had found a strong candidate — despite the GOP super PAC Congressional Leadership Fund’s efforts to seize on Ossoff’s youth having a $2.2 million ad campaign using footage of him dressed as Han Solo while in college.

The DCCC quickly moved staffers into the district, doing clear the idea was prepared to spend money in a region national Democrats have largely avoided.

however the idea was the involvement of the liberal blog Daily Kos which definitely catapulted Ossoff onto the national map. The blog has been the largest driver of Ossoff’s eye-popping $4 million fundraising effort to date. the idea bested its previous fundraising record for 1 candidate — $412,000 for Elizabeth Warren in 2012 — in 1 week. Daily Kos’s pro-Ossoff fundraising efforts crossed the $1 million mark on February 28.

As Daily Kos political director David Nir as well as also I exchanged emails This specific month, he argued which Georgia’s 6th district “very well could be a test case for the future of Democratic targeting.”

“the idea would certainly generate even more excitement for future races. as well as also I think the idea would certainly terrify Republicans, because there are a lot of some other districts like This specific one: traditionally GOP, however highly educated as well as also very Trump-wary,” Nir wrote.

What, though, about the record-breaking sums of money? Will such donation surges simply coincide with Trump actions which outrage the left?

“One thing I’ve experimented with will be putting up blog posts asking people to contribute to Ossoff at times when people (myself included!) are definitely feeling angry as well as also upset at Trump in order to give them something affirmative to do,” Nir emailed. “For instance, I published This specific post the weekend Trump issued his travel ban. the idea raised almost $34,000. We then sent out an email based on which post as well as also the idea raised another $118,000. We’ve seen similar responses in some other similar situations as well.”

National Republicans, meanwhile, are doing plans to hammer Ossoff relentlessly.

They see three major points of attack against Ossoff: He’s progressive enough to have become a darling of the liberal blogosphere, his filmmaking business did work for Qatar-owned Al Jazeera as well as also the GOP believes he has inflated his resume.

Central to the resume argument: Ossoff has touted his national security clearance — however he only held which clearance for several months before departing Johnson’s staff.

“Over the past few decades, the voters of GA-06 have shown they are not interested within the representation of a far-left Hank Johnson-type candidate who embellishes his resume,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Maddie Anderson said in an email. “We are looking forward to showing them which Jon Ossoff will be not who he says he will be within the coming days.”

Nir said progressives are hoping for a win. however he also compared This specific race to one Democrats lost in 2005. In 2005, a hard-fought campaign by progressives brought Paul Hackett just three points away coming from victory in an Ohio congressional district which George W. Bush had just won by 28 points.

“which very tight margin in a race which should never have been competitive within the first place was a harbinger of 2006, when Democrats got extremely fired up as well as also won a whole lot of previously red seats,” he said.

National Democrats are careful to downplay expectations. Some party operatives said anything closer than a 60-40 blowout could be seen as promising. as well as also because the race will be a “jungle primary,” Democrats won’t yet officially endorse a candidate, even though Ossoff will be the party’s clear preference.

“There’s no one here who’s over-promising anything, because we recognize which This specific will be still very challenging terrain,” Perez said. “however we’re working with the state party to build up our capacity as well as also while we don’t get involved in primaries, obviously, we are working as well as also we will eventually be doing an investment in This specific race to help another Democrat as well as also to hold Trump accountable.”

Gingrich, the man who once held the seat in play, will be resisting the hype. He reminded me of his skepticism in 2014 when there was talk of Michelle Nunn, a Democrat having a legendary last name in Georgia politics, would certainly beat Perdue for a Senate seat. Perdue wound up winning by nearly 8 points.

“Every election cycle, the Washington media has This specific idea which This specific will be the year Georgia could be changing,” the former speaker said. “as well as also every election, the idea turns out not to be.”

Source : Dems look south to test anti-Trump strategy

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