Special Elections Garner Significant Attention

by Joey Derrico

New-found jobs in the Trump administration have led to vacant seats in the House of Representatives and other legislative bodies, and Republicans and Democrats alike want to capitalize on the opportunity, creating special elections in Kansas and Georgia. 

One special election in Kansas replaces the newly appointed CIA Director and former Congressman Mike Pompeo. Pompeo was a Republican who served the fourth congressional district of Kansas. During the general election in November, Trump won the district by 27 points, a huge margin in polling terms. The race between Republican nominee Ron Estes and Democratic nominee James Thompson was expected to be a Republican blowout, but the contest turned out to be much closer than expected. Political experts contribute this competitiveness to the early struggles of the Trump administration. Estes won the special election by a mere 7 percentage points. The Republican party also had to send surrogate Ted Cruz to the district on behalf of Estes. President Trump and Vice President Pence recorded robo-calls as well.

Another special election obtaining significant attention is taking place in Georgia’s 6th congressional district, a predominantly Republican district. Thirty-year-old John Ossoff, a Democrat, is taking on a fleet of Republican candidates in the first round of voting. A winner can only be declared if a candidate receives more than fifty percent of the vote. If nobody passes this threshold, a runoff election will be held between the top two-vote getters. Ossoff fell just short of the threshold, receiving 48.1% of the vote, the highest of any candidate. Republican Karen Handel finished second with 19.78% of the vote. Ossoff has raised more than 8.3 million dollars so far, partially with the assistance of celebrity surrogates such as Samuel L. Jackson. The runoff election between Ossoff and Handel will take place in June.

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