U.S. Democrats aim to 'make Trump
furious' in Georgia election
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[April 18, 2017]
By Andy Sullivan
SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. (Reuters) - For U.S.
President Donald Trump, an off-year congressional election on Tuesday in
the reliably Republican northern suburbs of Atlanta could spell trouble
if Democratic upstart Jon Ossoff pulls off a surprise victory.
A 30-year-old political novice, Ossoff is running as the lone Democrat
against a field of 17 Republicans for a seat in the U.S. House of
Representatives vacated when Trump named Tom Price as his health
An Ossoff win would not tip the balance of power in the
Republican-controlled House but could weaken Trump's already shaky hold
on his party there by encouraging those in competitive districts to
distance themselves from him.
Ossoff faces formidable odds. Georgia's 6th District has elected
Republicans to the House since the late 1970s. Trump won the Southern
state by about 5 percentage points in November's election.
Still, opinion polls show Ossoff leading his many rivals. With the
slogan "Make Trump Furious," he aims to galvanize opposition to a
president struggling with low approval ratings.
"We have an amazing chance here, an extraordinary moment for Georgia,"
Ossoff told campaign volunteers as they headed out for a final round of
door-knocking on Monday afternoon.
Ossoff raised a stunning $8.3 million in the first quarter, forcing
Republicans to spend heavily against him. Those in the race are split
among Trump supporters and candidates trying to hold the president at
Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton last
year, and Republicans have controlled the White House and both chambers
of Congress since January. But they have yet to enact major legislation
to fulfill campaign promises.
The president's approval rating has not topped 50 percent since he took
office on Jan. 20, Reuters/Ipsos polling shows.
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Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff for Georgia's 6th Congressional
District special election speaks during an election eve rally.
REUTERS/Kevin D. Liles
Trump, a businessman and TV celebrity who previously had not held
political office, has blasted Ossoff as a "super Liberal Democrat."
In several tweets on Tuesday, he said Ossoff was "very weak on crime
and illegal immigration, bad for jobs and wants higher taxes" and
urged Republicans to vote to force a run-off.
Ossoff aims to win an outright majority in Tuesday's vote, a "jungle
primary" with all 18 candidates from both parties on the same
ballot. If no one reaches 50 percent, the top two vote-getters
square off on June 20.
Republicans say they could beat Ossoff in a one-on-one contest. The
party avoided embarrassment last week when it narrowly held a
conservative Kansas seat vacated when Trump tapped Republican
Representative Mike Pompeo to head the Central Intelligence Agency.
(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Additional reporting by Susan Heavey;
Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Lisa Von Ahn)
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