All eyes — including the president’s — are on the Atlanta suburbs on Tuesday as voters cast their ballots in a special election to determine who will represent Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.
President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to urge Republicans to “get out today and VOTE” against Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff, the 30-year-old former congressional aide running for the House seat vacated earlier this year when Tom Price became Trump’s secretary of health and human services.
“Democrat Jon Ossoff would be a disaster in Congress,” Trump tweeted. “VERY weak on crime and illegal immigration, bad for jobs and wants higher taxes. Say NO.”
“Republicans must get out today and VOTE in Georgia 6,” he added in another tweet. “Force runoff and easy win! Dem Ossoff will raise your taxes-very bad on crime & 2nd A.”
Trump isn’t the only high-profile figure who’s invested in the race. Celebrities including Samuel L. Jackson, John Leguizamo, Debra Messing, Chelsea Handler and Alyssa Milano have all voiced their support for Ossoff, a former filmmaker.
Milano, along with actor Christopher Gorham, took a break from filming in Georgia last month to personally drive voters to the polls to cast their ballots early for Ossoff.
And other stars like Kyra Sedgwick, Jane Fonda and longtime Trump foe Rosie O’Donnell have poured tens of thousands of dollars into the Democrat’s campaign, Politico reported.
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So why all the interest from Hollywood? According to Politico, though Trump’s name isn’t on the ballot, “many see it as a clear opportunity to slow down” the president.
Asked about her involvement in the special election, O’Donnell told Politico via Twitter direct message: “i will say i will do all i can to oppose him and his criminal administration.”
Samuel L. Jackson, loaning his voice to a new radio ad aired in the district by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, says a vote for the Democratic Party is a vote to “stop Donald Trump.”
“Your vote goes a long way toward setting things right in this country. Vote for the Democratic Party. Stop Donald Trump, the man who encourages racial and religious discrimination and sexism,” Jackson says in the ad. “Remember what happened the last time people stayed home: We got stuck with Trump. We have to channel the great vengeance and furious anger we have for this administration into votes at the ballot box.”
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Some stars say the unusual outpouring of support for Ossoff is symbolic of the continued resistance against President Trump.
“It is the seat heard round the world. Everyone is watching,” Milano tells Politico. “All the recent special elections have taken on a certain symbolism of the resistance. We’ve now seen what a Trump presidency looks like and how his policies negatively affect every facet of our beautiful country. Supporting Ossoff is a clear message to the GOP that we don’t like the direction Trump is taking this country in, and we will continue to elect more people that will hold Trump and the entire GOP accountable for their policies. I hope we can take this momentum in the 2018 elections.”
Perhaps more tangibly, politicos see the race as an early litmus test of Trump’s popularity — and whether anti-Trump sentiment could help Democrats win traditionally red seats to take back the House.
FiveThirtyEight points out, however, that “Democrats need to pick up only 24 seats to win back the House, so even though this is the type of seat that Democrats probably want to be competitive in, taking Georgia 6 is not a necessity for taking back the House.”
Ossoff, one of five Democrats running in the primary, is expected to win almost all of the Democratic votes on Tuesday. There is no clear frontrunner of the eleven Republicans running for the seat.
According to FiveThirtyEight, the last nine polls show that Ossoff is just short of a majority, averaging 42 percent of the vote. That said, there’s still a possibility Ossoff will win outright on Tuesday. If no one gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates, regardless of the party, will meet in a runoff on June 20.