Tight finish seen in Atlanta congressional race, Trump weighs in


Reuters

UPDATE 1-Tight finish seen in Atlanta congressional race, Trump weighs in


(Adds Trump tweets in paragraph 4-5)
    By Andy SullivanROSWELL, Ga., June 20 (Reuters) - A special election run-off
for a suburban Atlanta seat in Congress looked set for a tight
finish on Tuesday, with polls showing a very narrow lead for the
Democrat candidate seeking to take a district held by
Republicans since the 1970s.
    For much of his campaign the young Democrat newcomer Jon
Ossoff sought to harness local dissatisfaction with President
Donald Trump, who carried this affluent, suburban district by
only 1 percentage point in last year's presidential election.
    But he later shifted to focus on local concerns to match his
Republican rival Karen Handel, a former secretary of state who
argued the vote was a local issue and unrelated to Trump's
presidency.
    "This race is not about what's going on around the rest of
the country - it is about you," she told supporters on Monday
night.
    A June 18 poll showed Ossoff just ahead of Handel, with 49.0
percent versus 48.9 percent. The WSB-Landmark Communications
poll drew on 500 likely voters and has a margin of error at 4.4
percent.
    The election outcome will not alter the balance of power in
Washington, where Republicans control both chambers of Congress.
    But an Ossoff victory would help Democrats raise money and
recruit candidates as they try to win back control of the House
of Representatives in 2018.
    The party has fallen short this year in elections in Kansas
and Montana, and it is expected to lose another race on Tuesday
in South Carolina.
     Trump weighed in on the election early on Tuesday morning.
    "Democrat Jon Ossoff, who wants to raise your taxes to the
highest level and is weak on crime and security, doesn't even
live in district," Trump wrote on Twitter.
    "KAREN HANDEL FOR CONGRESS. She will fight for lower taxes,
great healthcare strong security-a hard worker who will never
give up! VOTE TODAY," Trump then tweeted.
    The seat in Georgia's6th Congressional District became
vacant after prominent Republican Tom Price went to serve as
Trump's health secretary. Another high-profile Republican, Newt
Gingrich, also began his political career there.
    Unprecedented sums of money has poured into the candidates
campaigns. Total spending in the race topped $56 million,
according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog
group, nearly double the previous record.
    Ossoff gained national prominence by vowing to "make Trump
furious," but lately he has avoided mentioning the president,
promising instead to cut spending and "bring accountability to
Washington," as he said at a Monday campaign event.
    His campaign has attracted more supporters than some
expected.
    "There are more of us than we thought," said Tricia
Gephardt, an Ossoff volunteer.
    Kay Kirkpatrick, a Republican state senator who represents
the area, said that while Republicans were divided on Trump,
they had mostly united behind Handel.

 (Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Robert Birsel and
Raissa Kasolowsky)
 ((andy.sullivan@thomsonreuters.com; +1 202 354 5864; Reuters
Messaging: andy.sullivan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: USA POLITICS/GEORGIA (UPDATE 1, PIX, TV)



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