Powerful outside forces aim to shape the free-for-all race to represent a swath of north Atlanta’s suburbs in Congress, pouring millions of dollars and lining up influential endorsements in a brutal battle over the conservative-leaning 6th District.
Georgia elections have long attracted out-of-state donors and special-interest groups. But the April 18 election to fill the vacancy Tom Price left for a Cabinet post is attracting outsized national attention as the most competitive federal contest in the nation since Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Political action committees, congressional power brokers and Trump allies have chosen sides in the race, and a flood of money raised by a liberal advocacy group backs a Democrat hoping to flip the district for the first time since Jimmy Carter was president. A 2016 presidential candidate has even weighed in.
The ad wars are already well underway, with several candidates in the race launching a commercial blitz with five weeks to go before the election. With all 18 candidates on the same ballot, regardless of party, a June 20 runoff between the top two vote-getters is almost certain.
The biggest factor in the race, though, may prove to be another non-Georgian force of nature: Trump.
He carried the district — which sweeps from east Cobb County to north DeKalb County – by only a whisker in November. And the low-turnout affair could hinge on whether his supporters return to the polls — or energized Democrats bent on handing the president an electoral defeat show up in force.