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5 Things You Should Know About the Georgia 6 Special Election

Georgia voters in the Atlanta suburbs will go to the polls on Tuesday in a special election for the congressional seat vacated by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price. Democrats say it's a referendum on President Donald Trump, and they think they can win. But there is good reason to be skeptical.

Democrats did well in special elections in California and Kansas, and hope to surprise in the Peach State as well.

Here are five things you should know about the special election for Georgia's 6th congressional district.

1. A red district in a red state.

Democrats hope to do well Tuesday because Donald Trump only won by 1 percent in November. But Georgia's 6th congressional district usually favors Republicans.

Tom Price carried the district by 23 percent in 2016, and Mitt Romney won by the same margin in 2012. By FiveThirtyEight's weighted average, Georgia 6 is about 9.5 percentage points more Republican than the nation as a whole. This means that if there were a tie in the national popular vote, a Republican would likely win Georgia 6 by 9.5 points.

Price has won with at least 60 percent of the vote in Georgia 6 since 2004. It has been held by a Republican since 1979, when Newt Gingrich first took the seat. If Democrats can win here, it would be a big coup for the party.

2. A crowded race.

There are no fewer than eleven Republicans and five Democrats in the special election Tuesday. The race is a "jungle primary," which means that there is no cap on how many candidates can run, and that has actually hurt Republicans in Georgia 6.

Local Democratic leaders and liberal activists have coalesced behind Jon Ossoff, a former congressional staffer. Ossoff has raised over $8 million and is likely to win the vast majority of Democratic votes. For this reason, he has a healthy lead in the polls.

Republicans are divided between two leading candidates, with many others taking smaller chunks of the GOP vote. Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel comes in second place in most polls, but businessman Bob Gray is close behind her. Former state Senators Judson Hill and Dan Moody trail both of them, but still take almost 10 percent of the vote. Were Handel to consolidate the votes of Gray, Hill, and Moody, she would beat Ossoff. But that's not how this works.

The important threshold is 50 percent. If any candidate takes more than half of the vote on Tuesday, he or she wins. But that is not exactly likely.

3. Poll results.