Donald Trump’s presidency has been rocked by controversy like very few others in our nation’s history. He enjoys record low approval ratings astonishingly early into his presidency and passed an unpopular healthcare bill in the House of Representatives. Due to this and the endless stream of revelations pertaining to his campaign’s relations with Russia, elections normally overlooked in the frenzy of the beginning of an administration are more heavily scrutinized.
These are special elections, or elections that occur earlier than scheduled due to the people previously holding these offices leaving before the election. Often, these vacancies are not due to deaths or scandal but to appointments by the President to cabinet and federal positions.
Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District is a suburban seat outside of Atlanta and has elected Republicans for decades. Trump appointed the Representative for that seat to his cabinet early on. This triggered a special election in which many Republican candidates and a Democrat, Jon Ossoff, faced off in a first round in April. Ossoff gained 48 percent of the vote against his rivals, and now has to go up against the Republican nominee. While Ossoff is favored, he needs to take three percent from the Republicans to win. The runoff date is June 20, so Ossoff has to work fast.
Much further west, a very different race is unfolding. Montana’s low population allows it to have only one congressional district, that encompess the entire state. Its holder was also appointed by Trump to his cabinet.
Although Montana is a red state that Trump won by a significantly, the Democrats have a strong challenger to the GOP in the form of country musician Rob Quist. The election is set for May 25.
Despite the uncertainty of these races, the outlook is very gloomy for Trump. Montana and Georgia are both traditionally Republican states that gave him sizable wins. This trouble on the home front is not good for Republican chances at holding the House of Representatives next year, so they need to buckle down and win these races if they want to keep it.