House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has recorded a robocall urging Republicans to turn out to vote in next week’s highly anticipated special election to fill a Georgia congressional seat.
The Washington Post first reported that Ryan had recorded the call on Thursday morning. A House GOP political aide confirmed to TPM that Ryan had recorded a call through House Republicans’ campaign arm, the National Republican Congressional Committee.
The speaker recorded a message urging people to vote for a Republican candidate in the election but did not endorse one candidate in the race, the aide told TPM. It wasn’t clear how long the robocall campaign would run or how much the NRCC was spending on the calls.
Ryan’s effort to turn out the GOP vote comes after the Cook Political Report moved the historically ruby-red district’s rating to a Republican toss-up this week. It also follows a closer-than-expected result in a Tuesday special election for a Kansas congressional seat, where the GOP candidate won the solidly Republican district by a single-digit margin.
Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff has been leading the crowded field in the Georgia race. A poll released last week showed him leading the pack with 43 percent, followed by Republicans Karen Handel and Bob Gray with 15 and 14 percent support, respectively.
The special election to fill the seat left open by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price will function as a jungle primary, with all candidates, regardless of party, competing against each other on April 18. If no candidate clears 50 percent, the top two candidates will compete in a June runoff election.
Democrats have been hopeful that they can turn the district blue by harnessing voters’ unhappiness with President Donald Trump, who won the district suburban Atlanta district by just one point in November. Republicans, for their part, have been targeting Ossoff relentlessly, making long-shot attempts to tie him to terrorism.