Leading up to each post-Trump #Special Election, Democrats have treated the outcome as a bellwether for their party taking over the House of Representatives from Republicans in 2018. Each time they have lost, but Democrats declared victory for coming close and tomorrow’s special election in the northern suburbs of Atlanta to replace Rep. Tom Price (R) with a 30-year-old former Democratic Party clerk will be no different. Democrats and their allies threw more than $23 million at this race, so losing is not an option in the minds of those who funded the campaign. The race between veteran Republican politician Karen Handel and newcomer John Ossoff - who doesn’t quite live in the district - is the most expensive House race in history.

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If Democrats lose, it will be increasingly difficult for them to go back to the same donors for tens of millions of dollars more to dump into 2018 Democratic campaigns. In addition, a Democratic loss will demoralize a seemingly rudderless party that many analysts say already lacks a coherent message.

Democrats have the most to lose

On the other hand, a Republican loss would not change the balance of power inside the Beltway and wouldn’t intimidate President Donald Trump, who holds veto power over just about anything Congress puts on his desk. A Republican loss would, however, amount to a speed bump in its approach to 2018 elections and prompt a call for party unity to counter the Democrats’ newfound energy. Should they win, Democrats have all their political eggs in the Ossoff basket and they would waste no time feeding reams of liberal analysis propaganda to media outlets lamenting the end of the Republican Party as we know it.

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Republicans fielded establishment candidate

So, the question on election eve is will the Republicans be singing “#The Devil Went Down to #Georgia” or will the Democrats start emailing their “we-won” propaganda to a panting? To know who wins, one must understand the voters, not the candidates. Ossoff has proven to be the Democrats’ equivalent to rookie-of-the-year while Handel has proved a solid if not exciting candidate in a district that Mitt Romney won by 20 points in 2012.

Predictions foreshadow tight race

As a predictor, one should first consider that the Sixth District has been in Republican hands since 1979, which means Republicans have an initial advantage. Due to a Republican lean, it is not unrealistic to assign Handel a couple of points just for being a Republican candidate. By not moving into the district he is running for, Ossoff likely gave up a point, which assigns him a three-point deficit before the polls open Tuesday. However, at age 30, Ossoff is relatively young, and that will give him back a point or two by way of millennial voters making it an even race.

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However, the parents of millennials when combined with older voters will likely cancel one of those two Ossoff points leaving the Democrat down by one.

Ossoff counting on huge black turnout

While Ossoff, as a Democrat, can take for granted a huge majority of the black vote, we pretty much covered that Handel-deficit in noting the political makeup of the district with respect to voting for Republicans. The region is somewhat economically diverse but largely made up of middle class and upper middle class voters, ranging from blue-collar tradespersons to executives and CEOs. Republicans won the early vote decisively; this means Ossoff only benefits from the black vote if African-Americans show up in huge numbers Tuesday relative to district demographics. The black vote, therefore, is crucial for Democrats and will gauge the level of African-American support for the Democratic Party. If blacks come out for Ossoff in strong numbers, he gains a point and the race is once again even – if they don’t, Handel gets that point.

Handel must have support of district's Republican base

If young people come out in support of Ossoff in the similar numbers that they turned out for his primary, Ossoff picks up point. However, that’s a “big if” since the early shine of his campaign failed to reach 50% in April’s primary. Still, Handel is a steady-as-it-goes candidate who lacks the outsider label almost gleefully claimed by Ossoff. Nevertheless, she is a woman, and that could be worth a point since women outnumber men in the district… and who wouldn’t agree that we need more women in Congress, right? For those who haven’t kept track, the race is truly a tossup, however, do not fret, an honest prediction is included in next paragraph.

Early voter turnout may be harbinger

Based on the Republicans comfortably winning the early vote as of June 19, something that did not happen in April’s Run-off election, and the fact that Republicans historically turn out in higher numbers than Democrats on election day, Handel will go on to defeat Ossoff by three points and Democrats will proclaim yet another winning loss while Republicans sing “The Devil Went Down to Georgia."