The special election in Georgia’s 6th district has become the most heavily funded election for the House of Representatives in history, with about $US50 million being spent to support candidates Karen Handel and Jon Ossoff, but it has agitated local voters unused to the national press scrutinizing their politics.
The onslaught of political advertising and campaigning has bothered or outright enraged several voters Business Insider talked to in the district.
“I have received non-stop calls, texts emails for two months solid. It’s harassment honestly,” local artist Sydney Daniel told Business Insider. “I liked Ossoff before but now I don’t want to vote at all because of how obnoxious and ruthless they have been.”
The outreach, as well as the funding, has mostly been associated with Ossoff, the Democratic candidate. The election has taken on an outsized importance as Democrats are hoping for a chance to win the district as part of their bid to flip Republican congressional seats after the election of President Donald Trump.
Voters in Georgia’s sixth district don’t seem accustomed to all the attention.
“Phone Calls, junk mail, emails, and guys coming up to my door banging for a vote,” Rebecca Honness, a lifelong resident of the district, said as she described the aggressive campaigning. “That was truly scary… having someone knock on my door about an election. … I’ve never had that happen before.”
Monet Jackson, a local car saleswoman, said she’s been inundated with campaign materials.
“I’ve had mail coming to my apartment door almost every day last week,” Jackson told Business Insider. “Received multiple texts and phone calls to see if I’ve voted. I voted and still received a text the next day to see if I had voted.”
Hunter Murphy, a local car technician said he sees election materials “everywhere” and described the ads as “downright childish.”
Murphy’s criticism of the election echoed what many told Business Insider — that not only the volume, but the nature of the election has tried their patience.
“I see ads nonstop,” Murphy said. “My favourite one to hate is an ad that is done in a sort of lifestyles of the rich and famous parody, complete with shoddy Photoshop animations. It contains no information about the candidate whose campaign is attacking the other, and comes off as a high school prank meant to embarrass. And I get to see it multiple times a day.”
For Daniel Lim, a local student, the ads are repetitive yet confusing. After a deluge of calls, targeted ads on music streaming services, and outreach from separate organisations, Lim questioned the tactics and money spent.
“I support Jon Ossoff but I definitely think that a more coordinated marketing campaign could have saved a lot of the campaign’s money and time,” he told Business Insider.
Even people outside the district have gotten fed up with the constant prodding. One former resident of the district told Business Insider that he received multiple calls urging him to vote before he could even respond that he’s no longer a resident.
Jessica Frisco, the founder of Grassroots Action New York, a progressive group that sent campaigners to knock on doors for Ossoff, said she’s received 45 emails in the last 72 hours all urging her to give money to the best-funded House candidate in history.
“They all scream urgency and desperation (“PLEADING with you”, “Jon Ossoff COLLAPSES”, “PLUMMETING”) and look like scam emails despite coming directly from the campaign,” Frisco told Business Insider.
“The last few have claimed that he is completely out of money which is baffling given that he’s raised and spent more than any House candidate in history. I would be more receptive if he were asking for volunteer time and efforts, but an endless barrage of requests for money is a huge turn off especially coming from a candidate who claims to be a progressive.”
With the election taking place on Tuesday, the voters and observers contacted by Business Insider unanimously agreed that they’d be happy when the election was settled one way or the other.
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