Yep, it turns out that Republicans really are afraid that Jon Ossoff could win the April 18 primary without a runoff in the special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. On Thursday, a couple of articles surfaced (one from Politico, the other from CNN) citing GOP fears that Ossoff might deliver a first-round knockout, but the skeptical side of us wondered if Republicans were just trying to juke the expectations game in the hopes of deflating progressive enthusiasm in the event Ossoff isn't able to clear 50 percent (which is still the most likely outcome).
But we were giving them too much credit, because on Friday, Republicans proved how nervous they are by actually spending money on new ads designed to forestall what has become their ultimate nightmare scenario. Both of the spots are pretty weird, though, each in their own way.
The Congressional Leadership Fund, which has spent over $2 million attacking Ossoff, has decided that he's no longer an unready frat house Han Solo but rather the would-be leader of an revolutionary movement ready to burn the country to the ground. Indeed, their ad features footage of anarchist dipshits trashing Washington, DC ahead of the inauguration while scary music plays and an anxious narrator declares, "Jon Ossoff is one of them. Ossoff will vote with Nancy Pelosi for more spending, bigger government, and a weaker military." But will the highly educated, Republican-leaning but anti-Trump voters in this district that Ossoff is relying on to put him over the top really cotton to this sort of hysterical message?
Meanwhile, the NRCC is in an even deeper fix. Because they've been leery of taking sides in the primary, they're reduced to begging people to come out and literally "vote Republican for Congress"—any Republican! doesn't matter!—to keep Ossoff under 50. Not that their ad mentions Ossoff, but they do claim Democrats "are trying to stop our Republican majority that's getting things done." Hoo boy is that a tough sell. What's more, the spot features footage of Trump gesticulating madly. As we've noted ad nauseam, this is not a very Trumpy district at all, but is the NRCC desperate to motivate the GOP's pro-Trump base? That's a terrible sign in and of itself.
There's no word on the size of the NRCC's buy, but according to CNN, the committee is also sending five field staffers into the district, to join six already there from the RNC (a number that's set to go up to 15). CLF is also running its own field program, reportedly with 90 staffers. That's a lot of bodies—and money—to throw at this problem. Someone's getting panicked.