In the week since the April 18 jungle primary in Georgia’s sixth congressional district, the Handel campaign has raised over $1 million in online contributions. The race pitted 18 candidates against one another and ended with no outright victor, triggering a runoff competition between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel.
This money will be a huge help to the GOP campaign as the former Georgia secretary of state heads into a June 20 face-off with Ossoff, who, at 48.1 percent of the vote, fell just short of the 50 percent needed to take the congressional seat in the first round of voting. Handel came in a distant second at just under 20 percent.
No GOP congressional campaign has ever raised so much online in such a short period of time. In the two months leading up to the April 18 contest, the Handel campaign had raised about $290,000 online in a total fundraising haul of $457,000.
Meanwhile, the Ossoff campaign raised over $8.3 million in donations before the election, over 90 percent of which came from outside Georgia, and $6 million of which he spent on his efforts to take the seat outright. On the day after the primary alone, his campaign landed nearly half a million more in contributions.
Recent reporting shows that Ossoff’s strong showing on April 18 was the result of unusually strong Democratic turnout for an off-year election. While Republican primary voters turned out at rates typical for a midterm election, which is rare in a special election, Democratic voters beat them in this instance by a four-percentage-point margin, a rare feat. Much of this was due to the strong early-vote turnout for Ossoff, who was hailed from early on in the race as the Democratic party’s preferred candidate. However, Ossoff did not do as well in the district as Hillary Clinton did in November, despite losing GA-06 to Donald Trump by a razor-thin margin.
Since last week’s election results came in, both Trump and House speaker Paul Ryan have announced their intention to visit the sixth district and campaign with Handel.