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Republicans keep another House seat

22 Juin 2017

Republican Karen Handel has won a closely contested congressional race, salvaging a seat in conservative U.S. state of Georgia where Democrats had hoped to strike a blow against Donald Trump's presidency.

Handel's tough race, combined with closer-than-usual GOP House victories in Kansas, Montana and SC, suggests Trump will dominate the coming election cycle, forcing Republicans to make peace with him, for better or worse.

'Well, the Special Elections are over and those that want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN are 5 and O!

Republican Karen Handel won Georgia's closely watched Congressional election.

Republican Karen Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in a high-stakes special election for a Georgia House seat on Tuesday, denying Democrats their first major victory of the Donald Trump era. "Privately, Democratic strategists said even before the votes were counted Tuesday that Ossoff's civility campaign would be mirrored only in more Republican-leaning districts, and that a more aggressive anti-Trump campaign would be waged by candidates in longtime swing districts".

As anger with Trump rose across the country, Ossoff became a somewhat unlikely vehicle for the resistance to the president and the GOP agenda, attracting support from many people who said they were shell-shocked by Clinton's loss in November and who wanted to engage in politics. Handel notes that many of those people live in Democratic-leaning states like California, New York and MA. "Obstruction doesn't work!", Trump wrote on Twitter. And while it's hard to say whether and how much that hurt him, there are plenty of examples in recent years of voters being not terribly fond of voting for someone who has such issues.

The election seemed to go badly for the Democrat Jon Ossoff very early as many expected him to have a strong showing in precincts that would report soon after the polls closed. Although Ossoff raised over $25 million, most of the contributions came from outside the district.

Ossoff initially campaigned on a promise to "make Trump furious" but more recently refrained from taking on the president as he tried to win over centrist voters.

Democratic candidate for 6th congressional district Jon Ossoff concedes to Republican Karen Handel at his election night party in Atlanta, Tuesday, June 20, 2017. But it's the kind of district Democrats need to win to take back the House.

He does not constantly refer directly to Ms Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, instead pitching his "fresh leadership" against "career politicians". "Logically, the difference of a few thousand votes in a single special election shouldn't have such an impact".

There were nearly 260,000 total votes cast in Georgia's sixth, but only about 88,000 in SC's fifth. That the Democrats were unable to capitalize on that tells us a number of things about the state of the Democratic party as it relates to the American electorate. Republicans are favored to hold a fourth seat up Tuesday in SC, while Democrats already held their lone open seat in a California special election. Democrats thought that, with some real effort on their part along with an uneven (to say the least) start to the Trump administration, they might get past the finish line. They failed to do this, and that's one of the reasons they lost. Democrats spied an opportunity in all that ticket splitting to pick up the seat, and the party quickly consolidated behind Ossoff after he announced his candidacy in January.

It was Ms Handel's most public embrace of the man whose tenuous standing in this well-educated, suburban enclave made a close race in a previously safe Republican district.

Democrats sought to turn the election into a referendum on Donald Trump and a herald of next year's midterm elections.

Ossoff and Handel were the top two finishers in an April 19 primary, advancing to the one-on-one runoff election.

Republicans keep another House seat