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After Georgia, Republicans celebrating, Dems searching

22 Juin 2017

Enter Mr. Costa with the cold water, while once again; noting the importance of state and local races that Democrats don't seem to really understand is the key to rebuilding a political talent pool.

Republican Karen Handel on Tuesday night defeated Democratic rival Jon Ossoff to claim the House seat vacated by new Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price.

That did not stop Trump from weighing in on Twitter, urging voters to support Handel before the election and celebrating her victory afterward.

At least one Democratic lawmaker called Ossoff's loss a "wake-up call for Democrats".

Are you surprised at Handel's win?

Ossoff told his supporters: "The fight goes on".

A chunk of the $5 million Handel raised herself came in three fundraisers headlined by Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan. That reflects the attention and energy surrounding the race that both parties saw as key early in Donald Trump's presidency. And if they spend more time on figuring out how to communicate them - the high priest-vs. -warrior dilemma - than on attacking each other for near-misses at the ballot box in 2017, they could reap the benefits of those incremental advances by winning the big battle in 2018. No, you lost. At some point the time for moral victories is over and sometimes winning is just about winning.

Nor does it provide any momentum for Democrats going into next year's midterm and statewide elections. As the strategist explained, "Every campaign is a unique expression of the current contours of the electorate". After receiving almost 20 percent of the vote to finish a distant second to Ossoff in April's jungle primary - the top finisher in a field of 11 Republicans - Handel received the backing of the White House, with Trump attending an Atlanta fundraiser in late April and tweeting his support in recent days.

Republican Ralph Norman received 51.1 percent of the vote there, defeating Democrat Archie Parnell who received 47.9 percent of the vote.

His travel ban has stalled in federal courts and his efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act have hit several bumps as a bill slowly makes its way through Congress. State officials, though, say they're confident the technology is secure and no problems had been reported by Tuesday afternoon. They can (and are) send out fundraising emails with this quote from the chair of House Republicans' campaign arm, Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio: "There are 435 seats up with 70 competitive seats, and they don't have $3.5 billion to spend so far on this election cycle". "Politics in Washington is driven by fear, and it's fear of not getting elected", Smith said.

After a devastating loss in an extensively - and expensively - targeted Georgia congressional race Tuesday, Democrats erupted in an explosion of finger pointing and second-guessing, blaming the defeat on party leaders, an inexperienced candidate and an uninspiring message.

Handel commended Ossoff and pledged to work for his supporters. "They don't have the 100 percent name I.D., the celebrity status, all that other shit", Republican strategist and well-known anti-Trumper Rick Wilson told me last week. And yet, exactly five months after Trump took office, the candidate deemed his proxy improved on his showing by 3.6 points, nearly triple the gain for the Democrat.

But Republicans are fighting hard to keep the congressional seat, using Pelosi as a tool to try to turn off voters who might swing toward Ossoff. "They hate the swamp, they hate the establishment".

They've captured a couple of state legislative specials, as well as sort of picking up San Antonio mayor (the incumbent in that nonpartisan race was not a Republican but did to some extent run as one, and her victorious challenger more or less ran as a Democrat).