A new poll shows that Democrat Jon Ossoff has strengthened his lead in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District race, and the race tightening among Republicans.
A poll by the conservative website zpolitics and Clout Research shows Ossof leading with 41 percent of the support of those polled. But it also shows that former Secretary of State Karen Handel and fellow Republican Bob Gray are nearly tied, with Handel at 16.1 percent and Gray at 15.6 percent.
A poll from the same outlet last month showed Ossoff leading Handel with 32 percent, Handel at 25 percent, and Gray with 11 percent.
The new poll comes as the Republican candidates grapple with the House GOP’s proposed bill to replace the 2010 health care law. The survey included only eight of the 18 candidates in the race along with “not sure” and “someone else” categories.
The poll showed health care is the No. 2 issue among likely voters in the district behind taxes and the economy. It also showed a small majority was pessimistic about the outcome of what happens with the health care law.
When the health care plan was first released earlier this month, Gray posted on Facebook that it was not quite “‘repeal and replace’ I was expecting from our House GOP leadership.”
“Repealing and replacing a government program as flawed as Obamacare is no easy task,” he said. “Nevertheless, when you take a band-aid off, the best way to do it is by quickly ripping it off.”
Joash Thomas, a spokesman for Gray’s campaign, said candidates’ stances on the bill would not have much of an impact on the race.
“Republicans like Bob support repealing Obamacare as soon as possible,” he said. “That’s what America voted for in November, and that’s what needs and looks like will be delivered on.”
Gray gained a little steam last week when he was endorsed by the Club for Growth.
“While we looked at the broad array of where Gray is on pro-growth issues, his opposition to AHCA was certainly a factor in our endorsement,” said Doug Sachtleben, communications director for the organization.
Sachtleben said that Gray’s stance on the bill shows he is willing to stand on principle.
“As voters become increasingly aware of how RyanCare fails to fully repeal Obamacare and that it will not lower costs for health insurance, they will see that Gray is the true economic conservative in the race,” he said.
Handel gave a more pragmatic statement about the health care plan.
“Obamacare is a disaster and the status quo is clearly unacceptable. I support the most conservative bill that can pass the House and I’m encouraged that some amendments are going to be offered to improve the bill,” she said in a statement.
And she contrasted her position with Ossoff's.
“If Nancy Pelosi liberal John [sic] Ossoff wants to have a debate about the merits of the status quo and Obamacare, I’m more than happy to have that fight,” she said.