Jon Ossoff Heads to Runoff With Big Vote in Georgia House Race

This Tuesday it was another special election - this one in suburban Atlanta - where a slew of GOP candidates managed to keep Democrat Jon Ossoff just under 50%, forcing a June runoff.

Democrats, searching for answers at a time when they are shut out of power in Washington, found a unifying figure in Ossoff, a 30-year-old documentary filmmaker who campaigned on a promise to "Make Trump Furious". That primary is June 13 - a week before the Georgia runoff.

The president understood the stakes of the second congressional vote since his administration took office, a week after Kansas' 4th District narrowly replaced CIA Director Mike Pompeo with another Republican.

Republicans believe a two-candidate scenario will embolden conservative voters and make it harder for Ossoff to campaign above the fray as he has thus far.

Winning the June 20 run-off will be a steeper challenge for Ossoff, however, as Handel will nearly certainly benefit from her party coalescing around a single candidate in a conservative leaning district.

With the Georgia election's unusual contours - an 18-way primary and a GOP field split among 11 candidates - Ossoff soon rose to the top of the pack.

Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff speaks to volunteers and supporters at an election rally as he runs for Georgia's 6th Congressional District in a special election. His strong showing in the conservative district, driven by eye-popping fundraising numbers from out-of-state donors, underscored Democrats' eagerness to get a win against Trump as they strive to take back House control in 2018.

National leaders in both major parties agreed the Georgia race is a prime test run for the 2018 election cycle, because the affluent, well-educated district is replete with the kind of voters Democrats must win over to have any chance at reclaiming a House majority and winning more governor's races. He called the runoff a "big win" for Republicans. That massive influx of cash, coupled with a lack of any other serious Democrats in the race and a disdain among many Republicans in the district for Trump's in-your-face style, made for a surprising opportunity for Democrats in the south - a region where the party has been decimated over the last decade.

But Mr Ossoff was undeterred.

While Handel has said she thinks Trump is doing a good job, she didn't exactly wear her support for him on her sleeve.

For Democrats, Ossoff's near win encourages the opposition movement that has flourished since Trump's election.

In Alpharetta on Tuesday morning, Handel told BuzzFeed News that she thinks the night will end without a definitive victor.

If this race goes down to a runoff, much will hinge on which Republican candidate enters the final fray - whether it's a Trump-supporting contender, or an establishment Republican.

Democrats are hoping to retake the House of Representatives next fall, and they have seen reason to be optimistic in the president's low and falling poll numbers.

Handel emerged from a pack of Republicans with help in the form of endorsement from former Sen. "These liberal Democrats failed to inspire voters with a candidate who. received 97 percent of his donations from outside the district, and consistently lied about his own weak resume". Donald Trump and his billionaire, special-interest friends - which outspent us by almost 2-to-1 on the air - thought that Democrats would be lucky to get 40% of the vote. Ossoff, who grew up within district boundaries, has explained that he lives "10 minutes" away in order to facilitate the graduate studies of his girlfriend, an Emory University medical student.

  • Leroy Wright