Karen Handel Wins Georgia Special Election

Cheryl Sanders
June 21, 2017

Ossoff was pretty consistently running ahead of Handel going into the race, but Georgia's 6th has been a consistently red district. 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. Even though Handel pulled in less than 20% when stacked against other GOP candidates, Republican voters rallied for her in the end, and she won Tuesday night's race - quite easily, in fact - with an estimated 52.5% of the vote over Ossoff's 47.5%. Price won his seat by 23 points, and Mitt Romney beat President Barack Obama by the same amount in 2012.

Georgia's state of mind and message for the nation after the most expensive congressional race ever. Judy Woodruff talks to Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Tamara Keith of NPR about the special election face-off. 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.

While the White House had played down the national importance of the Georgia race, Trump had gone all in on Handel, and the Republican Party no doubt sees the victory as a shot in the arm as it prepares to fight to preserve its control of Congress in next year's mid-term elections.

Democrats hoped for a win to show signs of broader national discontent with President Donald Trump and the Republican Party, but they came up short again.

The seat has been in GOP hands since 1978, having been held by such Republican stalwarts as Newt Gingrich and Johnny Isakson.

Also in South Carolina, Democrat Archie Parnell lost to Republican Ralph Norman on Tuesday and could not win the seat that became open when Representative Mick Mulvaney was tapped by Trump to head the Office of Management and Budget.

Addressing jubilant supporters, Ms Handel thanked key Republican figures, including President Trump.

Handel, 55, embraces her experience as a statewide and local elected official, often telling voters: "You know me".

Georgia's special election was billed as a potential referendum on President Donald Trump, who heavily endorsed Handel's candidacy.

Ossoff benefited from just under $8 million in outside spending, including $5 million from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

She also noted throughout the campaign that she's 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. A super PAC backed by Ryan spent $7 million alone. Handel's last two statewide races resulted in losses at the U.S. Senate and Georgia gubernatorial races.

"It's that fighting spirit, that perseverance and tenacity that I will take to Washington", she said Tuesday night.

That wasn't enough to sway the election.

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