Georgia House race heads to runoff as Trump wades in

Even though the Georgia 6th is wealthier and better-educated than most congressional districts, a win here could provide Democrats with a blueprint to take control of Congress in 2018's mid-term elections. We'll face former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, the highest finisher among the 10 other Republicans in the running.

But the president himself is clearly up for the fight, tweeting overnight about a "big R win" and saying "glad to be of help".

In the recent Kansas special election for Congressman Mike Pompeo's seat (he became the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency) the Democrats did not believe they had a chance to win until the last two weeks, as they poured in money, got their hopes up, and lost.

Winning such a seat will depend on Ossoff keeping voters like Shari Sprigle engaged in the race. Her campaign has said she owned the care before she won statewide office.

In short, this will be a tough battle for Karen Handel.

The victor in Georgia will succeed Republican Tom Price, who resigned the seat to join Trump's administration as health secretary. But that will open up Handel to more pressing questions about whether she supports Trump's immigration policies - the border wall and the expanded deportations, in particular, issues that are coming to a head.

Ossoff attempted to make the special election all about President Donald Trump.

Obviously, Ossoff and his allies hoped to cross the 50% threshold yesterday and avoid a runoff, but the fact that he earned 48% of the vote is an impressive feat for a Democrat in a Republican district in a Republican state.

Ossoff almost pulled off a major upset win in a district comprising some of Atlanta's wealthiest, best-educated suburbs - an area that has been represented in Congress by Republicans for almost four decades.

The victor replaces Republican Tom Price, who stepped down to serve as Mr Trump's Secretary of Health and Human Services.

But others, like Meredith Trotta and her 14-year-old daughter Lily Parzych, who moved to the South from CT six years ago, said the campaign has given them a much-needed outlet for their frustration.

Special elections will hold particular importance for Democrats this year, as Republicans now control both the House and Senate. "Even before the bill failed, people knew it would increase costs and rip away coverage, and that bothered them", the strategist tells me.

More tests await, with special elections approaching in Montana and SC in May and June.

Handel treated Trump gingerly throughout the campaign in a district he barely won in November.

"Jon Ossoff's first-place finish in ruby-red Georgia shows the huge opportunities for progressive candidates across the country", said Progressive Change Campaign Committee's Adam Green said in a statement.

  • Leroy Wright