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The race between Jon Ossoff (D) and Karen Handel (R) for Georgia’s sixth district Congressional seat has garnered nationwide attention. Here’s why.
USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — America is watching Tuesday’s race for a congressional seat that represents the wealthy Atlanta suburbs, wondering whether it will turn blue for the first time in nearly 40 years.

Democrat Jon Ossoff — a 30-year-old documentary filmmaker and congressional aide — has put up a surprising fight and raised a record-breaking $23 million in his race against former Georgia secretary of state Karen Handel. It is now the most expensive congressional race in history.

Some Democrats are hoping the special election runoff is a referendum on President Trump and that a win would be the start of a Democratic wave that will continue into the 2018 midterm elections. Republicans say that even if Ossoff wins, it would be hard to replicate the massive amount of money and outside focus for races during a normal cycle.

“The campaign has built a coalition of Democrats, independents and Republicans who want to send some fresh leadership to Washington, who want to focus on results rather than partisanship, who want to see a greater commitment to accountability,” Ossoff told USA TODAY after a campaign event in the district last week.

“No one knows who he is,” Handel, a three-time candidate for statewide office, told USA TODAY. “He clearly was a handpicked candidate by (House Minority Leader) Nancy Pelosi. He’ll go to D.C., he’ll be just another vote for her. And what we need is a person like myself who understands the 6th District what the issues are, what the priorities are and can really be a fierce advocate for the people of the 6th.”

The Georgia race likely marks Democrats’ best chance of capturing a GOP-held seat left open by Trump’s selection of Republican congressmen for administration…