Democrats are outspending Republicans in Georgia 6th race

Jon Ossoff and Karen Handel. AJC file

In special elections in Kansas and Montana, Democratic candidates spent months waiting for reinforcements in races that national leaders worried were unwinnable. In Georgia, though, the cavalry has arrived. In full force.

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis shows that Democrats have narrowly outspent Republicans in the runoff phase of Georgia’s 6th District contest, the nationally-watched race that could prove an early test of the GOP agenda.

The contest, by far the most expensive U.S. House race in the nation’s history, has now cost more than $36 million overall. That includes about $21 million since April 18, when Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff notched spots in the June 20 runoff.

National Democratic groups and Ossoff’s campaign have combined for about $11.3 million of that spending – the vast majority on a flood of broadcast TV ads inundating the suburban Atlanta district.

Ossoff’s campaign has now spent or reserved $7.3 million in broadcast, cable and radio ads through the vote. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pumped in another $3.6 million, and the left-leaning House Majority PAC has spent about $250,000.

Republicans have poured in nearly $10 million into the runoff so far, though relatively little of that money has come from Handel’s campaign. She launched her first TV ad of the runoff two weeks ago, focusing on her experience in the district, and has spent or reserved about $1.7 million in ads. Most has gone to spots on broadcast TV and Fox News.

GOP groups have rushed to try to fill the void. The National Republican Congressional Committee has laid out more than $4.1 million and the Congressional Leadership Fund – which has close ties to House Speaker Paul Ryan – doled out $2.8 million. The U.S. Chamber put in about $1 million.

The handwringing among Republicans is well underway. “It’s a real problem when one campaign outspends the other about 7-1,” said a senior GOP official, “and an even bigger problem when the Handel campaign’s message is, ‘I’m a career politician with friends.'”

These totals are likely to change dramatically. Democrats have been upping their buys in gradual increments and the candidates get lower ad rates than outside groups – which means Ossoff, who has become a fundraising dynamo, gets more bang for his buck. Analysts expect the total cost of the race to surpass $40 million.

Contrast the flood of spending in Georgia with the other recent House special elections. Montana’s air wars cost about $10 million, though Democrats only reluctantly helped Rob Quist after weeks of attack ads from GOP groups. And less than $200,000 was spent by outside groups in the Kansas race.

Both those contests were fought over reliably Republican districts that Donald Trump won by 20 points or more. And in both, national Democrats were squeamish about pumping in more resources into campaigns they saw as doomed.

Georgia’s 6th District, which spans from east Cobb to north DeKalb, has also long been a GOP stronghold. But Trump won the district by less than 2 points, and Democrats were buoyed by Ossoff’s near-miss of an outright victory on April 18.

Democratic operatives see something more in the contest: They need to pick up two dozen House seats to take back control of the U.S. House. And the path might run through suburban districts like the 6th scattered across the South rather than trying to flip rural Republican bastions that would be harder to defend.

More recent AJC coverage on the 6th District race:

How the 6th District was drawn for Republicans

Montana victor calls for help defeating ‘liberals in Georgia’

The GOP prevented an upset in Montana. What does that mean for Georgia-6?

Republicans level an early Memorial Day attack on Ossoff

Ossoff mostly lets others make anti-Trump attacks in Georgia’s 6th

Ossoff, Handel to meet in June debate on WSB

Abortion debate divides candidates in Georgia’s 6th District race

Democrats hope to leverage ‘Ossoff effect’ in other Georgia races

 

 

Reader Comments 0

279 comments
Curtis Wade
Curtis Wade

I'm guessing the lion's share was still spent on HER food

Steve Foster
Steve Foster

Just think of how many meals on wheels they could have paid for.

Fred Hackney
Fred Hackney

Democrats did a NASTY trick today. They ought to be ashamed of their selves...I know it is a normal practice, but this picture was below the belt.

Jerry H Holloway
Jerry H Holloway

Wont do them no good come june twenth he will go down in flames and who you gonna blame can't wait to here your excuse

Mark Beute
Mark Beute

Okay Republicans, Ossoff needs to go down in a resounding defeat

Stephen Tzarphati Bailey
Stephen Tzarphati Bailey

Yup, Ossoff will be the best Democrat money can buy.......he has so many IOUs........he will never be able to repay them in just 2 years. Of course, if you are a Liberal.....the means to a goal can be as evil & corrupt necessary. It is the end result that counts. Laws, rules, ethics, honesty, integrity mean nothing to a politician......only winning.

Jerry Aultman
Jerry Aultman

They need to change the rules to control all this huge sums of money influencing elections.

Dennis Chasteen
Dennis Chasteen

that tell's me that they expect to still a lot if they win ,Wake Up America

Jess Matheson
Jess Matheson

I believe Karen Handle should start refuding the accusations against her instead of just attacking Ossoff.

Tammy Lee
Tammy Lee

I seem to Remember that happening in another race ... last November

Joel Rea
Joel Rea

He's a republican masquerading as a dem. That why dems are supporting him. Dems don't support progressives, so we shouldn't ever support dems. Besides, they are scrambling right now because they have cheated democracy, and should be jailed!

CharlesThomas Duke
CharlesThomas Duke

You have to ask yourself where is all the money coming from,I simply don't trust the democrats,I expect some of the money may be dirty

Mary Miller
Mary Miller

That's because the democrats have stealing money from the American people for years and years .

John Moore
John Moore

"Both parties in Washington are wasting too much money." Campaign spends the most of any single US House race in history (far outpacing Handel). Well, he certainly has the qualifications to be a liberal Democrat: He's an obvious hypocrite.

Carolyn McLemore Payton
Carolyn McLemore Payton

Makes me wonder why are they willing to spend SO much money on this one election? He talks about sending teams to the front? What team? And just as hillary said, he tells us we can read everything on his website. ? Hummm

Karen Thacker Podett
Karen Thacker Podett

In general terms we have a battle between an open-minded, hard-working candidate and one who is a threat to many families and people in District 6. I go with the open-minded any day. Vote Ossoff.

Robert Head
Robert Head

Want do them any good. But spend all you got. Shows that the democrats will do anything to control.

Beverly Arnold
Beverly Arnold

Go Handel! Let's get out and vote 6th district. He doesn't even live there! ! Discusting. ..

David Dyar
David Dyar

Most of his money comes from California check it out

Karl M Anderson
Karl M Anderson

Y'all have done this same article at least 20 times in the last two months. Is there nothing else News worthy we the people of Georgia should know about.

Wallace Lewallen
Wallace Lewallen

Let's keep this lying fool out of office. VOTE REPUBLICAN

Kathy Brown
Kathy Brown

I think the 6th District being more educated means more money is spent so the constituency is able to fully "get" what the candidate is about. Let's remember, in some districts the "House Rep." runs unopposed and basically cost free. Besides, it's time for Georgia to reap the economic boost from elections instead of just handing over the seat every two years.

Joe Craven
Joe Craven

They asked him one question. "What color is the White House?" He got it right so he is now qualified.

Verna Raffety
Verna Raffety

They even bent the rules and let them add 8 thousand new voters

Polly Walden
Polly Walden

They still believe they can buy an office. They haven't learned much

Chris Knowles
Chris Knowles

Wouldn't have been without all the outside Democrat money ...

Janice McMahan
Janice McMahan

Pelosi $$$$....Ossssooooffff is her no nothing liar puppet

Will Jones
Will Jones

Satan's "Big Money" wants us to vote for one who believes all we White, Black, Brown, Red, and Yellow are "sub-human animals," "a mindless herd of cattle," "Goyim" his duty is "to lie to, cheat, rob, enslave, and kill, with impunity" because the satanic cult psychosis which raised him told him he "is a god chosen by God to rule the world."

Randy Morris
Randy Morris

Kathy Griffin donated how much to the Ossoff campaign?

Thomas Meduri
Thomas Meduri

It's un American to vote democrat. They want to give this country to the European Union.

Angela Dawn Selden
Angela Dawn Selden

Trying to buy a seat--Poor Dems. Ossoff is already a good LIAR like all the rest of the Democrats!!!!

Michael Cardoza
Michael Cardoza

Is ossoff going house to house in his district? Does he know where it is? He can definitely buy some votes, he's a liberal idiot democrat.

Jim Bennett
Jim Bennett

How does this guy think he can go to Washington and make all these changes. I just can't see sending this guy to Washington

Woody Smith
Woody Smith

Keep the Seat !!!! Vote Karen Handel !!! Those Dems love to throw away money !!!!

Michael Vaughn
Michael Vaughn

I will never vote Democrat ever again I don't care what they spend or say. Bunch of mental cases..