Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
U.S. | By Eddie Scott

Democrat Just Misses Stunning Victory in Georgia House Race

Republicans are bidding to prevent a major upset in a conservative Geor. Ossoff earned 48.1 percent in Tuesday's election.

Demographic changes have made Georgia's affluent 6th Congressional District more competitive for Democrats.

Ossoff attempted to make the special election all about Trump. It drew 11 Republicans, five Democrats and three independents. Or will Democrats regard it as a disappointment given the flawless storm of factors that seemed to be lining up in Ossoff's favor for Tuesday's vote?

In what was touted by the media as a possible rebuke to the Trump presidency and a foreshadowing of a tough midterm election, the Georgia sixth congressional district election instead disappointed Democrats and allowed President Trump to declare victory Tuesday.

The victor of the run-off election will fill the seat vacated when Tom Price left the office to become Secretary of Health and Human Services for the Trump administration. But the matchup in greater Atlanta's northern suburbs is just as much about Ossoff and Handel acting as proxies for the nation's roiled political atmosphere.

It didn't happen on Tuesday night - and now Democrats will have to wait nearly two months to see if they can start to build momentum for the November 2018 midterms.

Price won the district in November with over 60 percent of the vote, but Trump beat his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, by barely a percentage point in the district. Yet falling short also highlights the party's lingering power deficit in Washington and around the country. "We have defied the odds. shattered expectations", Ossoff said, and he urged his supporters to embrace the prospects of a runoff, telling them they would "carry us to victory".

Mr Ossoff maintained during the campaign that he would be ready to face up to one Republican if it came to a head-to-head competition. "Bring it on!" he said.

Trump was heavily invested in the race and in a tweet claimed victory, although Ossoff could still win in the runoff.

"We want everybody who is supportive of Republicans, so absolutely", Handel told The Associated Press after taking a congratulatory call from Trump on Wednesday. One of Handel's closest competitors, technology executive Bob Gray, even donned hip waders for one television spot as he paid homage to the president by, literally, draining a swamp.

Spicer did not mention that outside Republican groups also plowed millions into attacking Ossoff and encouraging GOP turnout; a political action committee backed by House Speaker Paul Ryan and other House GOP leaders accounted for at least $2.2 million.

Republicans believe a two-candidate scenario will embolden conservative voters and make it harder for Ossoff to campaign above the fray as he has thus far.

(AP Photo/John Bazemore). Supporters of Democratic candidate for Georgia's Sixth Congressional Seat Jon Ossoff hold signs near a poll location Tuesday, April 18, 2017, in Marietta, Ga. "Glad to be of help!"

In fact, Trump gave Ossoff his opening in the first place. "They said that their goal last night was to win the race with over 50%.They didn't run for a runoff, they ran to win last night, and they lost".

"Only the Republicans could try to define this as a defeat for the Democrats", said Porter.

"This is not a story about me".

As they see it, a win in Georgia could jumpstart efforts to retake the House in 2018.

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