Reading the Peach Tree Leaves

What can be gleaned from the result in Tuesday’s special election in Georgia.

Democrat Jon Ossoff campaigns at a restaurant in Alpharetta, Ga., Friday, June 16, 2017, ahead of a runoff election to replace former Rep. Tom Price. Ossoff is trying for an upset over Republican Karen Handel in the GOP-leaning 6th Congressional District that stretches across greater Atlanta's northern suburbs.
AP Photo/Alex Sanz
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Kyle Trygstad
June 19, 2017, 9:39 a.m.

There will be plenty of de­bate over what the res­ult Tues­day in Geor­gia’s 6th Dis­trict means for 2018.

If Demo­crats win, is it a glar­ing sign of elect­or­al dis­tress for House Re­pub­lic­ans, or is the re­cord-break­ing fun­drais­ing by Demo­crat Jon Os­soff and com­par­at­ively un­der­whelm­ing cam­paign by Kar­en Han­del im­possible to rep­lic­ate on a mass scale and there­fore hol­low? Con­cerned Re­pub­lic­ans would hope for the lat­ter.

If Os­soff loses, are there enough oth­er pos­it­ive sig­nals to out­weigh Demo­crats’ dis­ap­point­ment and still provide hope for pro­gress, or will it prove de­bil­it­at­ingly de­flat­ing for the grass­roots? Demo­crats would cer­tainly root for the former.

Re­gard­less of what hap­pens, there are plenty of oth­er not­able vari­ables worth watch­ing as the cycle un­folds that will com­bine to set the nar­rat­ive, lead to ad­jus­ted race rat­ings, and un­doubtedly af­fect turnout: Re­pub­lic­an re­tire­ments, Pres­id­ent Trump’s ap­prov­al rat­ing (cur­rently at 40 per­cent in the RCP av­er­age), the gen­er­ic con­gres­sion­al bal­lot, the Vir­gin­ia gov­ernor elec­tion, the qual­ity and quant­ity of Demo­crats run­ning in GOP-lean­ing dis­tricts, House cam­paign com­mit­tee fun­drais­ing, and the pop­ular­ity of ma­jor Re­pub­lic­an le­gis­la­tion.

Kyle Tryg­stad


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