Takeaways From The Georgia 6 Special Election

A Democrat came close to outright victory in Tuesday's closely watched U.S. congressional primary in Georgia, heading to a run-off in a race which Democrats tout as an early test of resistance to President Donald Trump.

"We defied the odds and shattered expectations - and we are ready to fight on and win in June".

Republican Karen Handel is a former Georgia secretary of state who has allied herself with President Trump and is viewed as an establishment-friendly Republican.

But he received tremendous support from national Democrats who saw the race as an early bellwether of how the party will do in the 2018 mid-term elections. That means the virtually unknown candidate narrowly missed the 50 percent needed to prevent a runoff election. With the slogan: "Make Trump Furious", he aims to galvanize opposition to a president who is struggling with low approval ratings.

Jon Ossoff speaks to volunteers and supporters at a campaign office on April 18, 2017 in Marietta, Georgia.

It's the expected outcome in a district held by the GOP since Newt Gingrich captured the 6th in 1978.

Maybe if the Democrats actually put together a platform instead of banking on anti-Trump "resistance" and Hollywood celebrity money.

Karen Handel's supporters cheer the election results Tuesday night
Karen Handel's supporters cheer the election results Tuesday night. Credit Kaitlin Kolarik

Liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org in a statement called Ossoff's first-place finish "a huge triumph for the Resistance and for progressives".

Democrats smell blood after Ossoff far out-performed past Democratic House candidates in this historically strong Republican seat - even exceeding Hillary Clinton's margin from the 2016 presidential election.

He published a similar message last week, after Republicans were forced to scramble to win a congressional special election in a ruby-red Kansas district.

Republicans, including the president, wanted to ensure Democrats wouldn't be able to use the election as a referendum on the Trump administration.

With just two candidates in the race, Republicans are vowing to close ranks behind Handel's candidacy.

Trump tweeted an unprecedented six times in the 48-hours before the polls closed in a bid to get voters to vote Republican. "Onward to victory", Ossoff, a documentary filmmaker and former congressional aide who campaigned on the idea he would be a check against Trump, said Wednesday on Twitter. GOP Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, an ally of House leadership, said congressional Republicans must start showing they can lead after the failure of their health care legislation, or risk voters snatching away their majorities.

"If you run as a Democrat, you're a Democrat", Sanders said.

  • Leroy Wright