Sen. Murkowski on health care bill: ‘I don’t have enough information’

Washington (CNN)Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Monday that she doesn’t “have enough information” to vote for on the Senate GOP’s health care bill.

“I don’t have enough data in terms of the impact to my state to be able to vote in the affirmative,” the Alaska lawmaker told CNN’s Dana Bash. “So I’m trying to get the information. … This is big stuff, and so making sure that we get it right is something that I have said is an imperative.”
Murkowski’s comments come just hours after the Congressional Budget Office released a report on the Senate bill’s impact, prompting multiple Republicans to express doubts about the legislation or reiterate that they would not vote for the bill in its current form.
    The report determined the Senate Republican health care bill would leave 22 million fewer Americans with health insurance by 2026 than under the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. The Senate proposal would reduce deficits by $321 billion over the next decade. By comparison, the CBO said that the House’s bill to “repeal and replace” Obama’s health care law, which passed in May, would leave 23 million fewer Americans with health insurance by 2026 than under Obamacare.
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pressing for a vote this week before lawmakers leave town for the July 4 recess. There are 52 Republican senators, and the bill needs 50 “yes” votes to move through Senate.
    Republican senators, many of whom are still undecided on whether to vote for the bill later this week, struggled to defend the legislation.
    Murkowski, a key player in deciding the fate of health care, argued senators should have time to look over the CBO numbers.
    “I don’t think it’s asking too much to say give us the time to fairly and critically analyze these numbers,” Murkowski told Bash. “And if you say, well, CBO numbers don’t matter, let’s look at the numbers that you don’t think matter. But it really does make a difference. And these numbers that we’re talking about, these are men and women, these are our families that are being impacted. So let’s please get it right.”

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/26/politics/murkowski-senate-health-care-cbo/index.html

    People are trolling the Obamacare repeal hashtag #HellerVoteYes

    Nevada Sen. Dean Heller is a no on the Senate's healthcare bill.
    Image: Monsivais/AP/REX/Shutterstock

    Nevada Sen. Dean Heller became the first Republican on Friday to say he wouldn’t vote for the Senate’s bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act because of its cuts to healthcare benefits for low-income Americans.

    Naturally, a conservative, pro-Trump interest group is lobbying the senator to change his mind about the GOP effort to replace Obamacare. One of them promoted a trending hashtag on Twitter: “HellerVoteYes.”

    Well, since the Republicans’ bill would eliminate most health services provided to the poor through Medicaid and raise costs for millions of Americans, people quickly seized on the hashtag to lobby Heller in the other directionand criticize Twitter for promoting the pro-repeal hashtag in the first place.

    Four other Republicans are set to vote no on the bill, but only because they don’t think it goes far enough. Maybe #HellerVoteNo will start trending too.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/06/24/hellervoteyes-obamacare-repeal-senate-healthcare-twitter/

    Nebraska Democrat fired for saying he was ‘glad’ Rep. Scalise was shot

    Washington (CNN)A member of the Nebraska Democratic Party was fired Thursday morning after an audio recording of him surfaced on YouTube saying he was “glad” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot at a congressional baseball game practice and wished the Louisiana Republican was dead.

    In the expletive-laced recording, Phil Montag, then the volunteer co-chairman of the Nebraska Democratic Party’s technology committee, blamed Scalise for seeking to take away people’s health care coverage through the Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
    “This motherf***er, like, his whole job is like to get people [to] convince Republicans to f***ing kick people off f***ing health care,” Montag can be heard saying in the recording in reference to Scalise.
      When he made the remarks, Montag was speaking to Chelsey Gentry-Tipton, the chairwoman of the state Democratic Party’s Black Caucus, and her friend, Destin Madison, according to the Omaha World-Herald and Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb.
      It’s unclear how the conversation began, but the recording on YouTube starts with Madison asking, “So what is it you want to do?”
      Gentry-Tipton responds to Montag’s complaints by saying, “We know all of this.” Madison later is audible telling Montag that he has been recording him and plans to release the audio of their conversation.
      “I hate this motherf***er. I’m f***ing glad he got shot. I’m glad he got shot,” Montag says on the tape.
      “So then say something. So then say something,” Gentry-Tipton responds.
      “I’m not going to f***ing say that in public,” Montag replies.
      “You don’t have to say that in public. Then say something, say something,” Gentry-Tipton says again as Madison asks, “Well then, what are you saying it to us for? What are you telling us for?”
      “I wish he was f***ing dead,” Montag then says of Scalise.
      “Why are you telling us, but not telling anyone else?” Madison asks.
      “I’m trying to f***ing — because I’m trying to f***ing figure out (inaudible)” Montag says.
      “It’s ok, because I’ve been recording this conversation since you’ve come in, so I will publicly release it myself,” Madison says before the recording abruptly ends.
      Gentry-Tipton has come under fire for remarking on Facebook earlier this month that she thought it was “so funny” to watch congressmen “crying on live tv” about the trauma they experienced in the shootings at the Republican congressional baseball practice, according to the World-Herald. In the same chain, the World-Herald reported she wrote, “The very people that push pro NRA legislation in efforts to pad their pockets with complete disregard for human life. Yeah, having a hard time feeling bad for them.”
      The comments prompted the state Democratic Party leadership to call for Gentry-Tipton’s resignation as Black Caucus chairwoman, but she refused to do so, saying in a statement on Facebook that her posts were taken out of context by party officials and that she would not resign “at this point,” the World-Herald reported.
      Kleeb, the state Democratic chair, told CNN she made the decision to fire Montag when she saw the video.
      “He made disgusting comments about a member of Congress, and we relieved him of his volunteer position of the party on Thursday morning as soon as we saw the video,” Kleeb said. “It’s a disturbing time in politics. I’ve worked in politics for over 10 years, and I’ve never seen such hateful rhetoric from both the right and left.”
      Montag could not be reached for comment Saturday. He told the World-Herald that the recording was edited to take his words out of context, adding that he was “horrified” by the shooting of Scalise and “absolutely” did not wish he was dead.
      “I did not call for the congressman’s death,” Montag said.
      Montag also told the World Herald that the recording posted on the internet Wednesday night was a small part of a conversation that lasted 30 minutes to an hour.
      Gentry-Tipton and Madison did not return immediate requests from CNN for comment on the recording or Montag’s allegation that it had been edited to take his words out of context.
      Nebraska is a one-party consent state, which means it is legal for an individual to record others without their knowledge as long as the person recording is a party to the conversation.
      Scalise, a member of the Republican baseball team, was hospitalized after a gunman opened fire while Republican members of Congress were practicing earlier this month in Alexandria, Virginia, ahead of the annual charity baseball game.
      The congressman went through multiple surgeries after the shooting and is still hospitalized, although he was released from intensive care Thursday.
      The shooter, 66-year-old James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, died from gunshot wounds he sustained in a shootout with police at the practice field, federal law enforcement officials said.
      The incident marks the first time a sitting member of Congress was shot since Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords was targeted by a gunman in 2011.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/24/politics/nebraska-dem-fired-scalise-shot/index.html

      Mom shares the crushing cost of her son’s medical care before the Senate votes on healthcare bill

      Before the Senate votes on its bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, many people are sharing stories of how the bill would affect them.

      One story struck a chord with thousands of Twitter users this weekend. The mom of 3-year-old Ethan Vikash shared a photo of a medical bill for her son’s open heart surgery. The 24-line item bill came to $231,115 for 10 hours in surgery, one week in the hospital’s cardiac intensive care unit, and one week on the hospital’s cardiac floor.

      With insurance, Ethan’s family only had to pay $500 out-of-pocket. But if Congress passes a healthcare bill that imposes lifetime caps on what insurance companies will cover, families that deal with childhood illnesses or heart conditions like Ethan’s would be well beyond priced out of life-saving care.

      The thread covering the cost of Ethan’s healthcare got turned into a Twitter moment.

      The story resonated with thousands of Twitter users who are scared about what will happen if Congress and President Donald Trump gut the Affordable Care Act’s restrictions on lifetime caps.

      Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/06/24/twitter-moment-lifetime-caps-healthcare-gop/

      Hillary Clinton: GOP is ‘death party’ if health care bill passes

      Washington (CNN)Hillary Clinton has a new name for the Republican Party if Congress manages to pass the Senate health care bill: “death party.”

      The Democratic presidential nominee’s Twitter account shared a study Friday afternoon from a progressive think tank, the Center for American Progress, predicting that the Senate bill could lead to between 18,000 and 27,000 additional deaths in 2026 if those people have no coverage.
      “Forget death panels. If Republicans pass this bill, they’re the death party,” she tweeted.
        “Death panels” is a reference to a line of attack that that was used by some Republicans amid debate on the Affordable Care Act in 2009, suggesting that Obamacare would have the government determine whether elderly people or people with special needs “deserve” care.
        The discussion surrounded a provision that would have used Medicare funds to pay for doctors to discuss end-of-life options with patients — but that proposal did not end up becoming part of the ACA.
        This is Clinton’s fourth tweet about health care since the Senate bill was released Thursday morning. She encouraged people to call their senators about “Trumpcare,” and she retweeted a former adviser to her campaign who shared a graphic showing possible effects of proposed Medicaid cuts on children.
        Earlier Friday, her Twitter account shared a Facebook post from former President Barack Obama denouncing the bill.
        So far, Republicans in the Senate have expressed some reservations with the bill, and most of them are still reviewng the text, according to CNN’s whip count.
        But several have pointed out that the Republican bill improves on Obamacare, which they say was a large-government approach to health care that does not deliver the benefits it promised for patients.
        Sen. David Perdue of Georgia said: “After reviewing the initial working draft, I believe it includes many substantial fixes to our broken health care system…Obviously, this will not be the final bill, but I’m hopeful that we can resolve the remaining disagreements and deliver a consensus bill that is a vast improvement over Obamacare.”
        Former Vice President Joe Biden also tweeted criticism of the Senate measure.
        “The Senate health bill isn’t about health care at all — it’s a wealth transfer: slashes care to fund tax cuts for the wealthy & corporations.”
        His tweet echoed Obama’s message the day before: “The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill,” Obama’s Facebook post read. “It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America.”

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/23/politics/hillary-clinton-gop-death-party-health-care/index.html

        Trump: ‘Bothersome’ that Mueller is ‘very good friends’ with Comey

        (CNN)President Donald Trump said “we’re going to have to see” when asked about the future of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is reportedly investigating whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice.

        “Well, he is very very good friends with (former FBI Director James) Comey, which is very bothersome,” the President said in a Fox News clip that aired Thursday. “We’re going to have to see.”
        Trump fired Comey over dissatisfaction with how the FBI head was handling the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein later appointed Mueller, a former FBI director, as special counsel to oversee the investigation, including potential collusion between Trump’s campaign associates and Russian officials.
          “Look there has been no obstruction. There’s been no collusion. There has been leaking by Comey,” Trump added. “But there’s been no collusion, no obstruction, and virtually everybody agrees to that. So we’ll have to see.”
          Trump accused Mueller of hiring “all Hillary Clinton supporters” to staff the investigation. At least three members of Mueller’s legal team have given political donations almost exclusively to Democrats, CNN reported in an analysis of Federal Election Commission records.
          In other comments in the full interview on Fox, which aired Friday morning, Trump reiterated how ineffective Democrats and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have been at winning elections. His remarks came on the heels of Democrat Jon Ossoff’s loss to Republican Karen Handel in the special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District seat Tuesday — the most expensive House race in US history.
          “I hope she doesn’t step down. It would be a very, very sad day for Republicans if she steps down,” Trump said. “I would be very, very disappointed if she did. I would like to keep her right where she is because our record is extraordinary against her, but we will see what happens.”
          “There has been a lot of talk about her stepping down,” he said. “We will have to see what happens.”
          Several Democratic lawmakers have said Pelosi’s position as a prominent face of the Democratic Party will continue to make winning elections difficult. In special elections for House seats vacated by Republicans who wound up in Trump’s Cabinet, Democrats have gone 0-for-4, losing races in Georgia, Montana, South Carolina and Kansas.
          On health care, Trump said he believes he will win over Republican lawmakers who have pledged to vote against the GOP bill to replace the Affordable Care Act.
          Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah said in a joint statement Thursday that they’re “not ready to vote for this bill.”
          “They are also four good guys and are four friends of mine,” Trump said. “I think they will probably get there. We will have to see. You know, health care is a very difficult situation.”
          “I have been here only five months, people saying, ‘Where is the health care?’ Well, I have done in five months what other people haven’t done in years,” Trump added. “People have worked on health care for many years. It’s a very complicated situation from the standpoint you do something that’s good for one group but bad for another.”

          Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/23/politics/trump-mueller-pelosi/index.html

          Obama on Senate bill: It’s ‘not a health care bill’

          Washington (CNN)President Barack Obama on Thursday spoke out against a proposed GOP Senate bill that dismantles the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

          “I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican Party,” Obama wrote in a Facebook post. “Still, I hope that our Senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what’s really at stake, and consider that the rationale for action, on health care or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did.”
          The GOP-proposed bill would repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate, drastically cut back federal support of Medicaid, and eliminate Obamacare’s taxes on the wealthy, insurers and others.
            Senators are likely to have only a handful of days to decide whether to support or vote against the 142-page bill, which was unveiled on Thursday.
            In his statement, Obama said the Senate bill is “not a health care bill.”
            “It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America,” he wrote. “It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.”
            The former President argued that he fought for the ACA “for more than a year” alongside “thousands upon thousands of Americans” because “we knew it would save lives, prevent financial misery, and ultimately set this country we love on a better, healthier course.”
            He ended his Facebook post encouraging the public to call members of Congress, visit their offices, speak out and “let them and the country know, in very real terms, what this means for you and your family.”
            “After all, this debate has always been about something bigger than politics,” he wrote. “It’s about the character of our country — who we are, and who we aspire to be. And that’s always worth fighting for.”
            The Senate bill is similar to the version of the House measure that passed last month. Trump has since called it “mean,” despite celebrating it at the Rose Garden with House Republicans.
            Democrats have blasted the Senate bill, with some calling it “meaner.”
            Four conservative Republican senators — Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson and Mike Lee — said they opposed the current version. And key votes such as Sens. Dean Heller and Susan Collins have also withheld support.

            Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/22/politics/barack-obama-health-care-bill-reaction/index.html

            In Georgia, close isn’t nearly good enough for Democrats

            (CNN)Winning isn’t everything in politics. It’s the only thing.

            CNN called the race for Republican Karen Handel shortly after 10 p.m. ET, with her holding a lead of more than 10,000 votes over Democrat Jon Ossoff.
            The race, which was to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in a seat Donald Trump carried by just a single point in 2016, was the most expensive in history — as both candidates, national parties and their associated super PACs dumped tens of millions into a seat widely seen as a barometer of the national mood. The final price tag on the race soared to north of $55 million.
              Both candidates’ messages were entirely nationalized as well. Ossoff sought to cast Handel, who had served as secretary of state in Georgia and run unsuccessfully for governor and Senate in recent years, as a tool of Trump. Handel similarly sought to link Ossoff to Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.
              Although Ossoff was heavily funded by liberal donors outside the state, he never cast himself as a progressive warrior — instead putting himself in the mold of a centrist problem solver.
              That was enough to get him 48% in the state’s “jungle primary” in May in which all of the candidates from both parties ran on a single ballot. But it was not enough to push him over the top in a one-on-one race with a largely inoffensive Republican in Handel.
              While the race will be heavily analyzed for national repercussions and lessons — and it should be, given how much money and message-testing both national parties did — this was also, in part, a local race. Handel was a known — if not beloved or maybe just be-liked — figure in the district thanks to her time in statewide office and her repeated unsuccessful runs for other offices.
              Ossoff was a newcomer who didn’t live in the district he was hoping to represent — a fact Handel and national Republicans made much of. (Nota bene: You don’t have to live in the congressional district you represent; you only have to live in the same state.) Neither was a very good candidate; Ossoff was stiff and robotic on the trail while Handel struggled to win over voters that, ideologically, should have been hers from the start.
              The national implications, however, will dominate the story coming out of this race.
              Special elections — given their usually odd timing — are almost always a battle of base intensity between the two parties. The people who turn out to vote in a June 20 special election runoff — two months(!) after the initial vote — are hardcore partisans. The game in special elections, then, is not persuading voters who aren’t sure about their views. It’s ensuring that the base is fired up and turns out.
              Everyone knew the Democratic base was ginned up beyond belief at the chance to send Trump a message about his performance in the first 150 days of his administration. The big question mark was whether the GOP base — perhaps worn down by Trump’s seemingly never-ending series of self-inflicted wounds — would be equally as intense.
              It turns out that they were motivated — as has been the case since at least 2010 — by the idea of Ossoff as nothing more than a Pesloi henchman. Republican strategists successfully convinced GOP voters that a vote for Ossoff was a vote for values anathema to their own.
              National Democrats will tell you that the race should have never been this close — and that Ossoff even threatening Handel suggests big trouble for Republicans on the ballot next November.
              But deep down they know they needed — and still need — a win in a high-profile race in which the fight was between Trump/Republicans and Pelosi/Democrats. Along with Archie Parnell’s loss Tuesday night in a South Carolina special House election, Democrats have now lost four straight specials this year where at least some within the party saw the chance for an upset. (Kansas’ 4th District and Montana’s at-large seat are the other two.)
              There are no moral victories in politics. No matter what the losing side says — and they always say this — the only thing that really matters when it comes to special elections is the “W” and the “L.”
              Had Ossoff won, he would have become an immediate national sensation for Democrats — proof positive that the Trump agenda was being rejected even in Republican-leaning seats in the south. Donations to the Democratic House and Senate campaign committees would have soared. Democratic candidates on the fence about whether or not to run in 2018 would have taken the Ossoff victory as a sign that the national environment was beginning to tilt heavily in their side’s favor.
              Now none of that will happen. Sure, it is still possible for Democrats to retake the House in 2018. As the May 2010 special election in Pennsylvania’s 12th District proved, a single race is not necessarily all that predictive. Democrats won that hotly-contested special only to go on and lose 63 seats — and the majority — less than six months later.
              But as important as what Democrats won’t get is what Republicans avoid: The full-scale panic that would have been triggered by a Handel loss. Had she come up short, any Republican incumbent in an even marginally competitive House seat would have immediately been on the phone to House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Steve Stivers of Ohio fretting over how Trump was going to cost them their jobs.
              Those worries will disappear — at least for the moment — with Handel’s victory.
              So yes, this is one race. And history suggests there’s just as good a chance that it means nothing as there is that it tells us everything we need to know about Trump and the 2018 election.
              But Democrats are depressed and Republicans are rejoicing. And that tells you exactly why Georgia matters.

              Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/20/politics/georgia-6-special/index.html

              Conservatives on Capitol Hill anxiously await health care bill

              Washington (CNN)Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell might be on the verge of releasing a bill to repeal Obamacare, but he’s got conservatives to convince before he can be sure he has the votes to pass it.

              On Tuesday, McConnell announced there would be a “discussion draft” unveiled Thursday on health care, but some in the right flank of his conference are already voicing skepticism for what’s coming.
              “I think they’ve forgotten all the rallies where we said we’re going to repeal it. We had thousands of people standing up and cheering us on, saying we’re going to repeal it and now they’ve gotten pretty weak-kneed and I think they want to keep it,” Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, told reporters Tuesday. “Conservatives who are in the know are going to know that this isn’t repeal.”
                Most members haven’t seen legislative texts of the bill, but the process itself has been deeply frustrating for some of the conservatives who McConnell may need to convince to pass his bill.
                Tuesday afternoon Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah took to Facebook Live to tell constituents, “if you’re frustrated by the lack of transparency in this process, I share your frustration. I share it wholeheartedly.”
                “It’s not being written by us,” Lee said, noting he was a member of the so-called working group. “It’s apparently being written by a small handful of staffers for members of the Republican leadership in the Senate.”
                On policy, Paul has raised problems with voting for anything that included robust tax credits to help people buy insurance. And conservatives both on and off the Hill warn that they won’t support any bill that doesn’t lower premiums. Conservatives believe that in order to do that, Senate Republicans need to repeal many of the Obamacare regulations including community rating, which bars insurers from charging people with pre-existing conditions more for their health care coverage. The problem is that Senate leaders have been clear with the conference that they prefer not to repeal the community rating provision.
                Sen. Ted Cruz, a conservative member of the Senate’s working group, said Tuesday — just days before a bill is expected to be released — that the Senate was “nowhere near resolving the issues that are needed.”
                “It depends what’s in the bill,” Cruz said when asked if he could support it. “There are many issues that are active topics of discussion. We are making steady progress, but we’re nowhere near resolving the issues that are needed. The most important issue is we have to drive down the cost of premiums. We have to make health insurance more affordable for families who are struggling. That is my number one priority.”
                Across Capitol Hill, House conservatives are also growing a bit nervous with the lack of clarity on what’s about to come out of the Senate.
                House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows told CNN Tuesday in a phone call that he continues to have discussions with senators, but that no one seems to know what’s about to be released.
                “I think there is a whole lot of ambiguity, which gives everyone some concern that there isn’t enough time to review,” Meadows said. “We have articulated some of the have-tos and nice to haves on multiple occasions with a variety of senators.”
                McConnell can only lose two Republican senators — any more than that and Senate leaders will fail to repeal Obamacare. That means McConnell can’t afford to lose all three of his most conservative members. And conservatives are just part of the problem.
                Moderates also have deep concerns about what McConnell is about to release. Senators from Medicaid expansion states senators have been especially vocal against reports that Senate leaders may change the growth rate of Medicaid to standard inflation after 2025. That would put a significantly larger burden on states to finance their Medicaid programs.

                Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/20/politics/health-care-conservatives/index.html

                Early vote tally foretells soaring turnout in most expensive House race ever

                (CNN)More than 140,000 voters had cast their ballots by the time early voting in Georgia closed Friday — another indication of sky-high turnout in the closely watched runoff for a House seat between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel.

                And that’s leaving neither side confident of victory in what is likely to be a tight race for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District seat.
                The pool of early voters includes more than 36,000 who did not participate in the April primary contest for the seat, which was vacated when former Rep. Tom Price became President Donald Trump’s health and human services secretary, according to the Georgia secretary of state’s office.
                  The early vote total soared past the 57,000 who voted early in the primary, where Ossoff reached 48%, just shy of the majority that would have avoided the runoff entirely. Ultimately, more than 192,000 people voted in the primary — close to the 210,000 who participated in the 2014 midterm election in the district.
                  The early voting in the runoff left neither party feeling comfortable and has aides on both sides forecasting a close contest Tuesday — even as Republicans celebrated turnout that is approaching presidential election levels in the conservative-leaning district.
                  The high turnout reflects the intense local and national interest a contest that — with more than $50 million spent between the candidates, their parties and super PACs — has become the most expensive House race ever.
                  Progressives who have pumped more than $23 million into Ossoff’s campaign have long viewed the race as their best chance to use a special election to deliver a political blow to Trump — and to send a message to House Republicans that aiding Trump will come at a price by capturing what for decades has been a reliably Republican seat.
                  Operatives in both parties acknowledge that more Republicans have voted early than Democrats — overall, a reason for Handel’s campaign to be optimistic and Ossoff’s campaign to sweat.
                  That reality, though, is no surprise in the district, which encompasses much of Atlanta’s northern suburbs. After all, Mitt Romney carried the district by 24 percentage points in 2012 — and Price never faced a serious challenge for his seat.
                  It was the 2016 presidential results that gave Democrats reason for optimism. Trump only bested Hillary Clinton by 1.5 percentage points — a result that fed into Democrats’ belief that while Trump had made gains in predominantly white rural and exurban areas, the more highly educated, wealthy, diverse suburbs held more Romney-Clinton voters and presented the party with an opportunity to make gains.
                  Handel and the GOP super PAC Congressional Leadership Fund have worked hard to turn the race away from Trump’s leadership in Washington and make it about Ossoff’s youth (he is 30) and about the House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi. In particular, Republicans have hammered Ossoff on national security issues.
                  Ossoff, meanwhile, has sought to run a centrist campaign — studiously avoiding even saying Trump’s name in an effort to make himself an acceptable alternative for typically conservative voters who might be inclined to buck the GOP.
                  The 36,000 early voters who didn’t participate in the primary at all are among the major question marks that make the early vote data hard to read for partisan advantages.
                  In analyzing that group, Tom Bonier, the CEO of the Democratic voter targeting firm TargetSmart, pointed out that they are less likely to be white than all other segments of voters — and 25% of them are under the age of 35. That demographic analysis figures to benefit Ossoff.
                  Because of the district’s status as suburban, educated and diverse, the Georgia race could be a harbinger of Democrats’ ability to compete for similar Republican-held seats in places like Orange County, California, the Philadelphia suburbs and New York state in 2018.
                  But the district is also more conservative than some of the similar-looking targets. According to the Cook Political Report’s Partisan Voter Index, there are 71 Republican-held House seats that are actually less GOP-leaning than Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.

                  Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/17/politics/georgia-6th-early-voting-jon-ossoff-karen-handel/index.html