Two factors help explain why it’s difficult to forecast: Special elections normally produce low voter turnout, and each of the candidates will be on the same ballot regardless of party affiliation. A runoff between the two top vote-getters seems all but guaranteed.
The cost could be astronomical as well, taking place in one of the most expensive television markets in the nation. While some Georgia congressional campaigns hardly muster seven-figure expenses, this race could be one of the costliest special elections in state history. Already, candidates are raising cash or making bold promises to supporters about how deep they’re willing to dig into their own wallets.
On paper, the race should be the GOP’s to lose. Price won a commanding victory for another two-year term in November with about 62 percent of the vote. But Hillary Clinton came within a whisker of winning the district, and Democrats hope they can consolidate behind a single candidate to land a spot in the runoff.
There’s no clear front-runner, but a December poll by Rountree’s Landmark/Rosetta Stone firm showed former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel in the lead with about 20 percent of the vote. More than half of the electorate was undecided — a sign of how wide open this race is.