Republican Karen Handel wins key Georgia election

Republican Karen Handel wins key Georgia election

Republican Karen Handel wins key Georgia election

Handel, 55, won in a suburban Atlanta district held by the GOP since 1979 despite raising far less money than Democrat Jon Ossoff, 30, in the most expensive House race in USA history.

Indeed the string of special election wins, especially in Georgia, sent a powerful message to Republicans that they must be doing something right, even though Trump's approval ratings are low by historical standards and the GOP has yet to notch a single major legislative accomplishment on Capitol Hill.

Price won the district last November by 23 points, and Ossoff's much closer margin serves as a 'silver lining, ' Democratic congresswoman Cheri Bustos said.

House Democratic leaders tried to downplay the loss ahead of time, pointing out that the Georgia race took place on GOP-friendly terrain, as did the other recent special elections. They fell short in other special congressional elections earlier this year in Kansas and Montana, and are expected to lose another race on Tuesday in SC. Educated and affluent, it's the kind of district where their "coalition of the ascendant" is supposed to, well, ascend in the time of Trump. And by the way, Ossoff's 47% was about the same as Hillary Clinton's performance in the district in the 2016 presidential election. 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.

But again, this election wasn't merely a referendum on Trump.

Ossoff becomes the latest Democrat to run a widely complemented campaign in a Republican-leaning state, yet still lose.

The controversial proposal, which Handel said she would have voted for, would "gut the protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions - hundreds of thousands of them", Ossoff argued at a debate earlier this month. Sure, but it's always been less than likely because of how the districts are drawn.

Democrats just went 0-4. And it wasn't enough. Yet Ossoff barely mentioned Trump, talking instead in generalities about "restoring civility" and Congress' oversight role. For one, there won't be many red districts were the president is less popular. What, were they supposed to spend sixty? One media analysis indicated a mere 3.5 percent of Ossoff's donations from late March to the end of May came from within the state. Will anyone believe it?

Another advertisement carried by a pro-Trump super-PAC called the Great America Alliance carried a quote from former president Barack Obama that appeared to encourage black voters to support the Republican party. But that's not what they were selling.

The South Carolina race, like the race in Georgia, wasn't much of a contest at all. Democrats, spying an opening, poured millions of dollars into the special election when former Rep. Tom Price resigned to join Trump's cabinet as the secretary of Health and Human Services.

Wall Street analysts offered varying opinions on Wednesday as to what the Georgia results will mean for the legislative agenda, even as USA markets largely shrugged off the results, opening marginally higher. On Friday, a WSB poll showed Ossoff leading Handel 49.7 percent to 48 percent.

The election in 2006 is a particularly relevant example, because Democrats had a somewhat similar, if better, set of opportunities.

Ossoff and Handel were the top two finishers in an April 19 primary, advancing to the one-on-one runoff election. He surely hit his number, given that expectations were for something like 200,000 to 225,000 votes to be cast.

Maybe there are more non-voting Democrats out there somewhere.

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