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Democrat Jon Ossoff hopes to win over a GOP-leaning 6th Congressional District in suburban Atlanta over Republican Karen Handel in Tuesday’s runoff election, a win that could rattle Washington ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. (June 19)
AP

Political junkies around the United States will be getting their fix Tuesday with a pair of special elections to replace House seats left open by presidential appointments. The nation’s politicians and political pundits will pay particularly close attention to the race for Georgia’s sixth congressional district, where polling shows a very tight race between Democrat Jon Ossoff, 30, and Republican Karen Handel, 55, in what many are watching as a referendum on President Trump and his policies.

Why is there a special election in Georgia? 

The House seat was left open by Trump’s appointment of former congressman Tom Price as secretary of health and human services. The first round of the special election was held April 18. Ossoff won 48% of the vote, far more than Handel’s 19%, which earned her second place.

Because no one got more than 50% of the vote, a June 20 runoff between Ossoff and Handel was triggered.

Why the election matters 

Ossoff’s strong showing in the first round, and in the polls since then, has Democrats optimistic he could represent the first sign of a coming Democratic wave in the wake of Trump’s turbulent first few months in office. With questions swirling around ongoing investigations into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia and the lack of major legislative accomplishments, many pundits believe an Ossoff win could panic Republicans into thinking their current approach isn’t working. They say that could set off a stampede of GOP lawmakers, hurrying to distance themselves from the president.

A win for Handel, on the other hand, could be interpreted by Republicans as evidence that their support among their base remains strong, leading them to cleave closer to the president and his…