You may have been hearing a lot about the Georgia sixth in the last few weeks, perhaps on the news or through hashtags like #FlipTheSixth. If you don't know what's going on, no worries — life gets in the way of paying attention to the news all the time. There's a special congressional election in the Georgia sixth district right now, and though the individual stakes of the election aren't too high, flipping the district could be a symbol of what's to come in the 2018 midterm elections.
The congressional seat in Georgia's sixth district is up for grabs since its last occupant, Tom Price, became the secretary of Health and Human Services in February. Republicans have held the seat since 1979, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich held it successively for 20 years. It doesn't seem like the type of place where Democrats might find success, especially considering the racial demographics of the district. However, in the wake of the presidential election last year, people are looking for a change in Congress that has them supporting Democrats with new vigor.
As of right now, Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff is polling in the mid-40s, which is significantly higher than any of the other candidates in the field. He's been getting some high-profile publicity assistance from Hollywood activists like Alyssa Milano and Samuel L. Jackson. However, Ossoff's current lead won't matter unless he manages to capture more than 50 percent of the total vote. If none of the candidates for the candidates achieve a majority of the district's vote, the district will be forced into a runoff election between the top two vote-getters, likely Ossoff and Republican Bob Gray.
But the outcome of this election could be a lot more significant than just the change in one seat. Many are attributing Ossoff's success to an anti-Trump backlash — even some Georgia Republicans have flipped parties to show their disappointment in the Republican Party, according to ThinkProgress. If Ossoff is able to achieve victory, it could be a sign that Republicans nationwide are going to abandon the party for the 2018 midterm elections in response to Donald Trump's election.
But whether Ossoff wins or loses, it's probably a little too early to start speculating about the Trump effect for 2018. The Georgia sixth is a microcosm, and the results there may not be applicable to other areas of the country. Each district has its own history, special concerns, and candidates that make every election unique. Georgia may be ready to respond to changing political realities, but that doesn't mean other Republicans across the country are yet.