President Donald Trump has weighed in ahead of Tuesday’s surprisingly close special election in Georgia, a race seen by many as an early referendum on his presidential performance thus far.
“The super Liberal Democrat in the Georgia Congressioal [sic] race tomorrow wants to protect criminals, allow illegal immigration and raise taxes!” Trump tweeted Monday morning, part of an active social-media morning for the president that also included digs against the media and his predecessor, former President Barack Obama.
Tuesday’s race in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District pits Democrat Jon Ossoff, a relatively unknown even in local politics at the start of his campaign, against a field of Republicans that are likely to split the GOP vote in the typically red district. The seat has been vacant since its last occupant, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, stepped down to join the Trump administration.
The race has garnered attention, not just because Ossoff has proven a credible threat to Republican dominance in the district, but because of the millions of dollars that have poured in to his campaign from outside groups in an effort to hand Republicans an embarrassing defeat.
"While I’m glad the president is interested in the race, he is misinformed," Ossoff said in a statement released by his campaign. "I’m focused on bringing fresh leadership, accountability and bipartisan problem solving to Washington to cut wasteful spending and grow metro Atlanta’s economy into the Silicon Valley of the South."
It is the second time in as many weeks that Trump has weighed in on a special election to replace one of his appointees. The president recorded a robocall for Ron Estes, the Republican who last week won the Kansas seat vacated by CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Estes won by single digits the deep-red 4th District, where Trump prevailed by 27 points.
If Ossoff, who has the most support heading into Tuesday’s contest by a wide margin, wins more than 50 percent of the vote, he would be elected to Congress. If no candidate draws more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates, regardless of party, are placed in a runoff.
While polls have shown Ossoff with a clear lead in Tuesday’s race, they also have put him short of the 50 percent threshold needed to win the seat outright and avoid a runoff, where GOP support would coalesce around a single candidate.