Republican Handel wins Georgia House seat

Republican Karen Handel has won the hotly contested special election for Georgia's 6th congressional district, defeating Democrat John Ossoff in the most expensive congressional campaign in American history.

The affluent and well-educated district has elected Newt Gingrich, the former speaker; Johnny Isakson, now Georgia's senior United States senator; and most recently Tom Price, who resigned in February to join the administration.

The race is reported to cost up to $50 million according to Politico.

Handel disavowed the ad, which blames the "violent left" for the shooting and suggests such acts would continue if Ossoff wins.

Turnout is on track to far exceed what is normal even for a November midterm and certainly beyond expectations for a special election.

"Winning in Georgia 6 - a district that hasn't elected a Democrat in three decades - was always an uphill battle", said Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), a top House Democrat.

Ossoff stood out in the rain with a group of supporters at an intersection, waving at cars and holding up signs. Handel came in a distant second with just under 20 percent, as Republicans divided their support among a number of credible conservative contenders.

"Still, for Handel's campaign, this could be a problem. But the downpours could dampen voter participation in GOP bastions as well". Polls closed at 7 p.m. Republican Ralph Norman defeated Democrat Archie Parnell by fewer than 5 percentage points with over 90 percent of the vote counted.

Ossoff raised more than $23 million, most from outside Georgia.

Her win comes after losing bids for governor in 2010 and the Senate in 2014, and it builds on a business and political career she built after leaving an abusive home as a teen.

He had to hunt for every Democratic vote in these wealthy suburbs once represented by Newt Gingrich, and needed to pick off some Republicans and Independents to boot. He grew up in the district, but has been living (barely) outside it to be with his girlfriend, Alisha Kramer, who attends medical school at Emory University.

And even though this seat has been in GOP hands for decades, and Price routinely won re-election easily, this wasn't Trump Country in 2016.

"I think in the 6th District we have a chance to make a decision about who's going to lead us whether the president is there or not there, whether his policies are good or bad", said Ware, 63, an attorney.

Ms Handel has handled Mr Trump gingerly. She also welcomed a parade of national GOP figures to Atlanta to help her raise money, with Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan holding fundraisers following Trump's April visit. However, polling shows his approval rating is underwater in the district, as is the GOP's health care plan, the American Health Care Act. Handel and Trump want to overhaul it.

He also thanked Fox News for acknowledging the "huge win" for Republicans and his presidency.

And, he seemed to admit, a loss could be damaging for the Trump administration's agenda: "This is a harbinger of national politics. And the world is looking; the nation is looking".

View the results of the race below.

And on Monday, in a nod to the special elections in Georgia and South Carolina, Trump urged residents in those states to vote for the Republican candidate.

Republican Karen Handel on election day after she is projected the victor for the Georgia 6th District special election on June 20, 2017.

  • Carolyn Briggs