Georgia Democrat puts Donald Trump's popularity to the test in Congress vote

Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel are headed to a June 20 runoff in the contest for the longtime Republican-held seat in the suburbs north of Atlanta.

Elizabeth Simas, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Houston says the runoff in Georgia was a predictable outcome.

Ossoff's campaign was boosted by the support of numerous celebrities, including from Star Trek actor George Takei and anti-Trump talk show host Chelsea Handler, the latter of whom donated to the young Democrat and used her almost 7 million-strong Twitter following to urge Georgia voters to turn out. Therefore, he will face a runoff election in June against Republican Karen Handel, the no. 2 vote-getter.

Georgia's 6th congressional district has always been a GOP stronghold, represented in recent decades by a pair of high-profile, far-right Republicans Tom Price and Newt Gingrich.

The election had been proclaimed widely as a referendum on the Trump administration, especially by Democrats who believed they would win the seat without a run-off.

Another congressional battle will play out late next month in conservative-leaning Montana, where voters will pick a replacement for Republican Ryan Zinke, who has become Trump's USA interior secretary. "I wonder if Donald Trump and she are going to campaign on that issue in her district", Perez said on CNN.

"We have a lot of wind at our back".

The question was whether Ossoff, a 30-year-old owner of an investigative film company, could win more than 50 percent of the vote Tuesday.

The Republican National Committee praised Handel's performance, with Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel congratulating her "for emerging from a large and qualified Republican field".

"‶This is already a remarkable victory", Ossoff said, according to the New York Times. But his candidacy became a sensation among liberal activists nationwide, who helped Ossoff raise more than $8 million in only two months - an astounding sum that helped him become an early front-runner in the race.

In a longtime Republican stronghold near Atlanta, a Democrat's name has risen to the national stage.

Trump himself targeted Ossoff with robocalls and a barrage of Twitter messages. In 2012, presidential candidate Mitt Romney beat former president Barack Obama by 23 points.

Yes, the fact that 11 of the 17 candidates in the Sixth District race were Republicans who wasted energy in-fighting while the Dems threw all their campaign eggs into the Ossoff basket did mean there would have been a "big loss" had Ossoff managed to inch over the 50 percent mark on Tuesday.

  • Leroy Wright