Despite massive spending, Dems fail to take US House seat in Georgia

Brandon Parsons
May 4, 2017

The Georgia District 6 special election that has drawn national attention is headed for a runoff between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel.

Ossoff led an 18-candidate field of Republicans, Democrats and independents, the entire slate placed on a single ballot to choose a successor to Republican Tom Price, who resigned to join Trump's administration as health secretary.

Ossoff, who received 48.1 percent of the vote, will face Republican Karen Handel, who came in second with 19.8 percent, in an election on June 20.

President Donald Trump said he was "glad to be of help" after a Democrat failed to win 50% of the vote in a Georgia election.

Georgia's 6th District has elected Republicans to the House since the late 1970s, but Trump only carried it by 1 percentage point in the November presidential election. But it will require picking up more than 20 seats and winning over droves of voters such as those in the affluent, well-educated Georgia district that spans Atlanta's northern suburbs.

Ossoff raised a stunning $8.3 million in the first three months of 2017, forcing Republicans to spend heavily against him.

That is crucial if Democrats are to have a shot at reaching their stated objective: reclaiming control of the House of Representatives in next year's mid-term elections.

The party avoided embarrassment last week when it narrowly held a conservative Kansas seat vacated when Trump tapped Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo to head the Central Intelligence Agency.

And yet, in the first round of balloting, a first-time Democratic candidate very almost took the seat - and still might.

Despite what seemed like at least a moral victory for Mr Ossoff, the White House claimed that it was in truth a defeat.

"They ran to win last night and they lost", he said.

However, what is concerning is that why do Congressional Republicans perceive Ossoff as a threat and why did Trump want him to lose so badly?

The Ossoff political threat drew the personal interest of Trump, who recorded a robocall urging Republicans to troop to the polls and block the Democratic upstart.

"This is a Republican district but it is not a strongly Trump district", House Republican Tom Cole said of the sixth district, home to many well-educated voters who are reliably Republican but frustrated by the new president.

With 113 of 210 precincts counted, Ossoff, a documentary filmmaker and former congressional aide, held 50.3 percent of the vote.

Like he did following Estes' victory, Trump took a victory lap on Twitter. "Anything short of describing that as a loss is sort of inconceivable to me in the sense that they literally said that is what they said would do".

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