What's next in the race for District 6? Deal endorses Handel - CBS46 News

What's next in the race for District 6? Deal endorses Handel

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Source: WGCL Source: WGCL

After a dramatic finish to Tuesday night's District 6 special election, two campaigns are now scrambling to reorganize and relaunch, preparing for the final showdown on June 20.

It's now a two person battle between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel. Ossoff came close but was not able to secure the required 50 percent plus one majority vote to avoid what's sure to be an intense runoff race.

Just hours after the District 6 congressional race was forced into a runoff, the Republican campaign committee had already begun running attack ads against Democrat Jon Ossoff. Voters say they're already getting tired.

We have fatigue of all the robocalls, it's just horrible," said voter Anna Hunter. 

While voters may be tired, the Handel and Ossoff campaigns say they're ready and refreshed for round two. Ossoff's campaign manager Keenan Pontoni, says their ads are still running and so are staffers.

"We are talking to voters.  We have over 100 field staffers still doing field work," said Pontoni.

Dr. Andra Gillespie, an associate political science professor at Emory University, says the ground game will be the key.

"This all comes down to infrastructure and turnout and organization. So both sides have to be mindful of this," said Gillespie.

Georgia's District 6 has been held by Republicans since 1979. So how much of a battle will Ossoff have in the head-to-head race against Handel? Some say that constant redistricting has been conducted by state lawmakers to create a firewall against Democrats.

DeKalb County communities like Chamblee were among areas added to the new 6th district, while Cherokee County was completely pushed out of it. That allowed a diverse set of voters to have a voice, which propelled Ossoff close to an outright victory. More than the polls predicted.

"To Ossoff's credit, he got a lot of latent Democratic voters who probably haven't been participating in congressional elections because the election of a Republican had been a foregone conclusion," continued Gillepsie.

Meanwhile, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has announced his endorsement for Karen Handel. He released this statement Thursday morning:

“I'm supporting Karen Handel because she is a strong conservative who will represent the best interests of those in the 6th Congressional District. She will be a steadfast and unwavering champion for Georgia's priorities in Washington. Republicans will need all hands on deck to defeat Jon Ossoff on June 20th and I look forward to being a part of the effort.” 

Once again, the runoff election will be held on June 20.

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