Republican Karen Handel Beats Democrat Jon Ossoff In The Georgia Special Election

DUNWOODY, Ga. (AP) - Republican Karen Handel has won a nationally watched congressional election in Georgia, avoiding an upset that would have rocked Washington ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

Handel emphasized that Republican pedigree often in her campaign and again in her victory speech.

Ossoff took to Twitter to urge constituents to "summon everything we've got" and troop to the polls despite rain falling on Georgia's sixth congressional district, as the president reiterated his support for Handel, 55.

"He wishes he could vote like me, because he doesn't live in the district", Handel said, according to the Hill. "I've lived here for almost 25 years and I think that's going to make a big difference to the voters in this district".

His campaign has attracted more supporters than some expected.

The president said: "KAREN HANDEL FOR CONGRESS". "Everything we're seeing is incredibly encouraging", she said, though she noted it's "very, very early".

"This small community in Georgia has become the epicenter of politics for months now, and it has nothing to do with me - it's about you", he said, to cheers.

"I wanted to come down and really give an extraordinarily heartfelt thank you to every single one of you in this room", Handel told supporters as the results were coming in.

Republican Karen Handel has won the costly and closely watched special congressional election in Georgia's 6th District, a blow to Democratic hopes of pulling off an upset in a district that President Trump only narrowly carried previous year. Now Ossoff is a 30-year-old Democrat running for Congress himself.

She is also known for being a Susan G Komen Foundation executive in 2012 when the organisation sought to cut off its support of Planned Parenthood.

For many voters and supporters of Mr Ossoff, the contest for Georgia 6th congressional district turned into a referendum on the presidency of Mr Trump and both sides spent a total of around $56m, making it the costliest race of its kind in USA history.

The matchup between Ossoff and Handel has become a proxy for the national political atmosphere and a test of GOP strength early in Trump's presidency.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) congratulated Handel on "a hard-earned and well-deserved victory".

Handel's fundraising efforts pale in comparison, totaling at approximately $4.2 million.

Thirteen minutes later, he followed up with a tweet supporting Handel.

Handel narrowly lost a battle for the GOP nomination for governor in 2010. She becomes Georgia's first female Republican member of the U.S. House.

Her resume also includes leading the Fulton County Commission as its chairwoman; working in the office of Marilyn Quayle, the wife of then-Vice President Dan Quayle; and serving as deputy chief of staff to then-Gov.

A former Georgia secretary of state, Handel emphasized throughout the campaign that she has lived in the district for 25 years, unlike Ossoff, who grew up in the district but lives in Atlanta, a few miles south of the 6th District's southern border.

But with Democrats falling short in those races, and Republicans expected to hold a SC congressional seat also up for grabs Tuesday, all eyes have turned to Georgia.

Information from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Associated Press was used in this report.

  • Leroy Wright