The conservative Club for Growth PAC announced on Tuesday that it will back Republican Bob Gray in Georgia's high-profile special House election.
Gray, a former councilman who has vowed to be an ally to President Trump if elected, is one of 18 candidates running for the seat left vacant by now-Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.
“Bob Gray is the proven economic conservative in this race,” said Club for Growth PAC president David McIntosh.
The heavyweight endorsement could help Gray stand out in a crowded filed that features 17 other candidates. The “jungle primary” will be held on April 18, featuring all the candidates competing against each other regardless of party affiliation. If no one reaches a majority of the vote, the top two vote-getters will compete in a runoff in June 20.
The crowded GOP field is wide open, with former Georgia secretary of State Karen Handel having a slight edge. She has led in polls and has higher name recognition, since that she has previously run for governor and Senate.
While some Republicans have distanced themselves from Trump in a district that he won by only 1 point, Gray casts himself as someone in lockstep with the president. He has reportedly said he will be a “willing partner” to Trump.
Democrats have been consolidating around Jon Ossoff, a former congressional aide. House Democrats’ campaign arm has sent nine staffers to the district to support his bid, and progressive groups have helped raise more than a million dollars for his campaign.
The Atlanta suburban district is viewed as Democrats’ first opportunity to test if backlash to Trump will help them flip House seats ahead of 2018. But even though Trump barely won the district, it is still a reliably conservative seat that regularly reelected Price.
While national Republicans haven’t endorsed a candidate, the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House GOP leadership, has launched two ads targeting Ossoff.