In the past 24 hours, Donald Trump has tweeted over and over again about today’s special election in Georgia’s sixth congressional district—and the Democrat running in the election, Jon Ossoff.
(He means “congressional.”)
Trump also left wild robocalls for Georgia voters warning that Ossoff would “raise your taxes, destroy your healthcare, and flood our country with illegal immigrants.”
Of course, a Republican president worried about a Democratic threat in a solidly red district isn’t anything new. However, Trump’s excessive Twitter freakout shows just how freaked he is by the prospect of a Congressman Jon Ossoff.
In part, the Ossoff race—against 17 other candidates—is less about Ossoff, a relatively moderate Democrat, than it is about the district he is running in. It’s been held by the GOP since 1979, but the president himself only carried it by a single percentage point in 2016. Most recently, that seat was occupied by Tom Price, whom Trump plucked out of Georgia to lead the Health and Human Services department, clearing the way for Tuesday’s special election.
Buoyed by a near-win in Kansas’ special election earlier this month, Democrats are hoping to harness the wave of anti-Trump sentiment that’s galvanized much of the country. An Ossoff win would be seen as a powerful bellwether of the prevailing national mood.
Trump, meanwhile, could find himself in a quagmire of his own making. By frantically highlighting Ossoff as the man to beat, the president risks adding further fuel to the motivational fire of those hoping to turn the district blue for the first time in decades.
It remains to be seen whether Ossoff has the actual votes to cinch a decisive victory in Today’s election. He could fail to clear the 50% needed to avoid a runoff, giving the GOP a second chance to consolidate its vote and defeat him. However, momentum appears to be on his side, and if Trump’s tweets are any indication, he’s got the GOP rattled.
Polling in Georgia closes at 7PM EST.