The view from GA-6

Atlanta attorney Craig Bertschi writes from Georgia’s Sixth District with a report on the pending special election to replace HHS Secretary Tom Price in the House. The great Harvey Klehr — historian extraordinaire of American Communism and now emeritus of Emory University — makes a cameo appearance in Craig’s report. After that, the highlights are few and far between. Consider Craig’s report a plea to Republicans in the district to turn out and vote:

I’m a long-time fan of Power Line and a resident of Georgia’s 6th District. The big Handel-Ossoff Debate is tonight at 8:00 pm EDT. In advance of the debate, I thought I’d give you some local color. So, here goes:

I’m a lifelong Republican, casting my first vote for President Reagan in 1984. I went to Emory University here in Atlanta (back when you could still find a conservative or two on campus). Harvey Klehr was my favorite professor and one of my advisors. With the exception of three years in Athens, attending UGA for law school, I’ve lived in GA-6 most of my adult life. I know this District and its voters very well. We aren’t accustomed to the national political spotlight and particularly the non-stop political ads.

Karen Handel wasn’t my first choice, but I will go to the polls and vote for her. Most of the Republicans I know are doing likewise, not with any sense of enthusiasm, but out of duty and certain knowledge that Ossoff is a robotic vote for gun control, abortion, illegal immigration and the rest of the progressive agenda. Handel’s grassroots and canvassing efforts seem weak. With the exception of this ad, her TV spots have been lackluster.

The enthusiasm for Ossoff is unprecedented in this district. In my normally quiet and conservative neighborhood, Ossoff signs have proliferated like lawn weeds. He’s got a good spin team, plenty of money and hasn’t made any unforced errors. He’s avoiding the controversial issues, even going so far as to call out both parties “for spending too much money.” Yeah, right.

It’s tempting to compare this race to the Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter races of several years ago. Nunn and Carter were stronger candidates than Ossoff for a host of reasons, including the obvious name recognition advantages. Those races also generated a lot of buzz, national money and base excitement. Yet in those races both Democrat candidates lost, scoring in the mid 40s, which seems to be the high-water mark for Democrats in statewide races in Georgia over the past 20 years.

I don’t see Ossoff suffering the same fate as Nunn and Carter. I think he wins in a very close race. Trump seems to have moved the partisanship needle, making the moderately left-of-center crowd much more likely to vote.

This is all a terrible shame because Ossoff is a very weak candidate. He spent his formative years at The Paideia School, one of Atlanta’s famously liberal in-town private schools, where he marinated in this. He’s only been out of high school for 12 years. As best I can tell, he has never had a real private sector job. He worked as a staffer for Rep. Hank Johnson. He’s currently the CEO of a film company that appears to be financed by his father’s charitable foundation (see here).

It’s a safe bet that every paycheck Ossoff has drawn in his lifetime has been underwritten by Daddy or Uncle Sam. It would be interesting indeed to see his tax returns. To his credit, Ossoff has managed to move out of his parents’ basement. He’s currently shacked-up with this girlfriend, who is attending Emory Medical School. In short, this kid is vapor.


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