Monday, March 20, 2017

If Ossoff wins it may change the House

If Ossoff pulls this off and actually turns this solidly red House seat blue, it is going to be like a lightning bolt through the heart of every Republican member of Congress. Just 4 months ago, Tom Price won that seat in a blowout, beating his Democratic opponent by 23.4%.

If Ossoff takes the seat in an upset, the national media will be talking about how Trump's unprecedented unpopularity may drag down Republicans in even safe carefully gerrymandered seats. That conclusion might not be true. At the same time Georgia's 6th district was giving that easy win to Price, it only went for Trump by 1.5 points. This would not be an example of a solidly pro-Trump district turning for the Democrats. but I think that detail will be lost in all the buzz about how the Trump dumpster fire has jeopardized safe Republican seats everywhere. And that talk will change the dynamic for Republicans in the House. They all will face reelection next year and they will have to find some way to demonstrate their independence from the President to hedge against the risk that he will drag them down.

The special election is April 18. Although it is likely that Ossoff won't win outright (he is currently polling at 41% and the Republicans are split with the highest two candidates getting 16% each), just getting into the runoff should trigger some "Is Trump endangering all Republicans" stories. A win in the June runoff vote would solidify the narrative.