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Polls open as DeKalb helps decide Georgia 6th District race

The polls opened at 7 a.m. in the northern reaches of DeKalb County, where voters are asked to choose the new representative in the 6th Congressional district.

The race, particularly consequential with the current make-up of Congress, is a crowded field, which will likely head into a runoff. There are 18 candidates vying for the seat stretching from east Cobb County across north Fulton County to north DeKalb.

But there are front-runners.

RELATED: Your guide to the leading candidates in Georgia’s special election

At St. Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church in Brookhaven, a precinct that went for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, several voters said they voted for Democrat Jon Ossoff.

Patrick White, an attorney, said he chose Ossoff because Georgia is too conservative and the Republican party is headed in the “wrong direction.”

“I’m a big opponent of our former congressman,” White said, referring to Tom Price, who left the seat to become President Donald Trump’s secretary of health and human services. “I’ve been voting against him for years.”

Bill and Mary Bright went with Karen Handel, the Republican former Georgia secretary of state.

“Jon Ossoff just has no experience,” the husband said. 

Ossoff seems to be “a product of money,” the wife said.

For many, the election comes down to a vote for or against President Donald Trump’s administration. Ossoff hopes to ride a wave of opposition to the president. 

The northern tip of DeKalb, which is included in the 6th district, held most of Trump’s November support in a deeply blue county. But even that was weaker than the Republican’s support elsewhere in Georgia.

All the same, the Brights don’t see the election as about Trump.

“This doesn’t need to be a referendum on Trump,” Bill Bright, an executive headhunter, said. “It needs to be a referendum on the 6th district.”

Marsha Archer, who works in public relations, saw her vote for Ossoff as a vote against Trump. 

Tuesday was a day, she said, to voice her displeasure with “what happened in November.” She doesn’t like how things are going in education and is against Trump’s so-far aggressive maneuvering with the military.

But Archer does like the aggression she sees in Ossoff.

“I like the fact that he seems aggressive in wanting to make a change,” she said.

If we wants to make a change, it’s likely he’d need to have a strong showing Tuesday as well as June 20, the date of the expected runoff.

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