What You Need to Know about the 6th District Race

Jun 19, 2017

Georgia’s 6th congressional district runoff election race is reaching its last few days. The election, which has attracted national attention, will be held on June 20. Voters in the 6th district are deciding who they want to represent them and fill the open seat for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Here are some of the most important things you need to know going into the election.

Main Candidates: The two main candidates for this runoff election are Democrat Jon Ossoff, a former congressional aide and documentary filmmaker, and Republican Karen Handel, former secretary of state of Georgia and former Fulton County Commission chairwoman. Handel previously ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor of Georgia in 2010 against Nathan Deal.  Republican Tom Price is the former 6th congressional district representative. Price held this position from 2005 until 2017, when he was sworn in as Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Donald Trump.  

Georgia’s 6th Congressional District is located in the suburban area north of Atlanta. Specifically, the district includes eastern Cobb County, northern Fulton County and northern DeKalb County. Some of the major cities in this area are Roswell, Johns Creek, Tucker, Alpharetta, Sandy Springs, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Doraville and Dunwoody.

Costing more than $40 million so far, the 6th district congressional race is now the most expensive congressional election in this country’s history. According to the AJC, much of the money has been spent on “producing, printing and reserving airtime for political ads on TV, in local newspapers such as the AJC and in mailers sent to voters’ mailboxes.”  

According to Audrey Haynes, an Associate Professor of political science at the University of Georgia, the 6th congressional district is an affluent suburban area with people who have highly educated backgrounds. Haynes also mentions that the district is not exactly diverse.

“In terms of the demographics, it’s mostly white,” Haynes says. “I think 13 percent or so is roughly African American from the last census data. Six percent or so, hispanic American.”    

The last time the 6th district elected a Democrat, Jimmy Carter was in the White House. Since then, Georgia’s 6th district has been a traditionally red one. In the last four elections, Tom Price won the area over by a large amount compared to his competitors. This upcoming election is unique in that it could be the first time in many years that a Democrat wins the 6th district. “Out of the blue, we have a Democrat who is actually, potentially, possibly going to win a very red district in a very red state,” Haynes says.

As the election goes into its last few days, polling shows that Ossoff is up by three. There is a chance that the young Democrat can pull off a win over Handel, despite running in a traditionally Republican district.