(WASHINGTON) -- With President Donald Trump tweeting about it three times in the last 24 hours and millions of dollars pouring in from across the country, the special election in Georgia's sixth congressional district to replace Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price is on the national radar ahead of today's primary.
Trump has singled out Democrat Jon Ossoff, the formerly unknown film producer and ex-congressional aide who has gained traction in the crowded field thanks to support from prominent legislators and a strong fundraising effort. The traditionally-red suburban Atlanta district just barely tipped for Trump in November and Democrats are seeking to capitalize on backlash against the president.
Ossoff, 30, is a first-time office seeker who was raised in the district just north of Georgia's largest city, but has faced criticism for currently living outside the area he hopes to represent -- a situation he claims is temporary. He holds a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University and a master's from the London School of Economics.
For five years, Ossoff worked as a staffer for Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., who represents the state's fourth congressional district. It was in this position that the Democrat says he "held a Top Secret security clearance while working with [the] military and intelligence community on counterterrorism, naval, air, and cybersecurity programs," according to his campaign website. Johnson and fellow Atlanta-area Congressman John Lewis have been vocal supporters of Ossoff.
Republicans have attacked the Democrat for his inexperience and youth. In one advertisement, produced by the conservative super PAC Congressional Leadership Fund, Ossoff's national security bona fides are called inconsequential -- some of his work experience took place when he was still an undergraduate at Georgetown -- and he is shown singing with his college a capella group and dressed as "Star Wars" character Han Solo while discussing beer kegs.
Prior to his run for Congress, Ossoff owned a small business that produced investigative documentaries. His campaign website touts that the company's work "has taken down human traffickers, exposed dozens of corrupt officials around the world and uncovered atrocities committed by ISIS in Iraq."
Ossoff, plus four other Democrats, 11 Republicans and one Independent, are all seeking at least 50 percent of the vote in today's primary in order to capture the seat. If no candidate crosses the threshold, a runoff between the top two finishers will take place June 20.
Trump, who hasn't endorsed a particular Republican candidate, tweeted Monday, "With eleven Republican candidates running in Georgia (on Tuesday) for Congress, a runoff will be a win."
With eleven Republican candidates running in Georgia (on Tuesday) for Congress, a runoff will be a win. Vote "R" for lower taxes & safety!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2017
The president took specific aim at Ossoff earlier today, writing that he would be "VERY weak on crime and illegal immigration," "bad for jobs" and "will raise your taxes."
Democrat Jon Ossoff would be a disaster in Congress. VERY weak on crime and illegal immigration, bad for jobs and wants higher taxes. Say NO— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2017
Republicans must get out today and VOTE in Georgia 6. Force runoff and easy win! Dem Ossoff will raise your taxes-very bad on crime & 2nd A.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2017
Ossoff is expected to be a top finisher in the primary and could possibly face off against Republican opponents Karen Moody, a former Georgia secretary of state, or former Georgia state senators Judson Hill and Dan Moody.
Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.