Despite GOP wins in Ga., SC races, Dems see silver linings

Republican Karen Handel won a high-stakes, closely-watched special congressional election on Tuesday, salvaging a seat in traditional conservative Georgia where Democrats had hoped to strike a blow against Donald Trump's presidency.

The race for Georgia's 6th District for the seat vacated by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price pitted Handel, 55, the former Georgia secretary of state, against Democrat Jon Ossoff, a 30-year old former congressional aide.

There's not going to be much electoral drama from now until the 2018 midterms, meaning the Democrats will have a long 17 months to reflect on what went wrong, and how they ended up losing this special election despite so much enthusiasm and activism.

Republican Karen Handel bested her Democratic rival, Jon Ossoff, in a fight for Georgia's 6th District that was seen as both symbolic and expensive.

Donald Trump congratulated Republican Karen Handel for winning the elections in the Georgia special election and said that Handel would work towards lower taxes, great healthcare, and strong security.

Handel's victory comes after Republican special congressional election wins in Montana, Kansas and SC. And in the runoff, Ms. Handel's local reputation made it easier for her to forge a political identity separate from Mr. Trump.

Ossoff stood out in the rain with a group of supporters at an intersection, waving at cars and holding up signs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Ossoff waves to supporters as he and his his fiancee Alisha Kramer leave his final campaign rally at his campaign office in Roswell, Ga., on the final day of campaigning on Monday. Still, Price got more than 60 percent of the vote there in 2016 and won comfortably there for most of the time after he first won the seat in 2004.

Ossoff's loss dashed Democrats breakthrough dreams in the historically GOP district.

Democrats attacked her record, including increasing spending as secretary of state.

Real Clear Politics polling data shows an extremely tight race, with Handel at 49 percent and Ossoff at 48 percent.

On policy, Handel mostly echoes the GOP line. The Republican campaign establishment, however, helped make up the difference. "He'll go to D.C.; he'll be just another vote for her".

Handel cast her ballot in Roswell Tuesday morning and denounced her opponent as being an outsider who couldn't even vote in the election since he did not live in the district.

  • Leroy Wright