Jon Ossoff and Karen Handel Head to Runoff in Georgia Special Election

The upset was so close that Democrats could practically taste it. On yet another special election night, the results trickled in for Georgia’s 6th District congressional seat vacated by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. It was a nail-biter, as pundits wondered if Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff could pull off the unthinkable: garnering 50 percent of the vote in a red district and avoiding a runoff election.

In the end, he just barely missed the mark. Ossoff, a 30-year-old former aide and filmmaker with no legislative experience, won over 48 percent of the vote, beating his next closest competitor by almost 30 points.

Still, without the necessary 50 percent of the final count, Ossoff will now face off against second place finisher Karen Handel in a runoff. The race will be much tighter now that more than a dozen mostly right-leaning candidates will be swept off the ballot.

Even without a full victory, Democrats are touting the results as a sign of just how poisonous President Donald Trump is to the GOP.

Jon Ossoff’s first-place finish tonight is a huge triumph for the Resistance and for progressives, who boosted Ossoff to the top of a crowded race in a Republican-leaning district,” said MoveOn.org executive director Anna Galland in a written statement. MoveOn, a progressive action group, endorsed Ossoff’s campaign in March. “Less than six months ago, a Republican won this district by more than 20 points. Tonight, a progressive Democrat got the most votes in a seat Newt Gingrich once held, and, as votes continued to be tallied, was hovering near 50 percent. The reason is clear: voters are rejecting Trump and his policies, especially the highly unpopular GOP-led health care repeal proposals like Trumpcare.”

The outcome also serves as a major rebuke to a president who tried once again — just like in Kansas — to throw his weight into the race in its waning days.

“In the last 48 hours, Trump has tweeted about the race five times, attacking Ossoff for wanting to ‘protect criminals, allow illegal immigration and raise taxes,’” Politico reported on election day. “‘Just learned that Jon @Ossoff, who is running for Congress in Georgia, doesn’t even live in the district. Republicans, get out and vote!’ Trump posted late Tuesday afternoon. Ossoff responded to Trump on Tuesday, telling Buzzfeed that he ‘appreciate[s] the president’s interest in the race,’ but he’s ‘misinformed with respect to my priorities.’”

Georgia voters thumbed their nose at the GOP establishment, too. The only Republican to make it to the runoff will be Karen Handel, the former Georgia Secretary of State notoriously known for her attempt to force Komen Race for the Cure to break off its relationship with Planned Parenthood while she was a Komen executive. The effort became a public relations disaster for the anti-breast cancer non-profit.

Handel’s mere 19 points were enough to earn her a second place slot, beating out former state Senator Dan Moody, who was backed by local Republican power players, as well as former state Senator Justin Hill, who was backed by national GOP figures like Newt Gingrich and Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Neither candidate could even break 9 percent.

The runoff election won’t take place until June, and how it will end is anyone’s guess right now.

“The dynamics in the runoff will be completely different; whichever Republican comes in second, for example, will be able to turn their fire on Ossoff instead of fighting other Republicans,” writes Harry Enten at FiveThirtyEight. “As my colleague Nate Silver wrote on Monday: ‘Even if Ossoff finishes in the low 40s, it will be hard to rule him out in the second round provided that he still finishes in first place by a comfortable margin. But even if Ossoff finishes just a point or two shy of 50 percent, and Democrats finish with more votes than Republicans overall, he won’t have any guarantees in the runoff …’ Polling and history both suggest that Ossoff would likely be about a 50-50 bet in.”

Round two, here we go.

Photo credit: Jon Ossoff Facebook

67 comments

Marie W
Marie W2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

SEND
Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld7 months ago

Rhoberta,

Perhaps an [independent?] source can fact check the claims made by both parties in this election.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/21/fact-check-spinning-georgia-special-election-results/100739858/

SEND
Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIE7 months ago

Okay

SEND
Philippa P
Philippa Powers7 months ago

Thanks.

SEND
Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E7 months ago

dan b.... disinformation... your big word for the day I see.
No, dan, I'm NOT hoodwinked but at some point in your life you perhaps should take a stand on the things that your current government is doing to cause so much instability all over the world. Yes, I DO blame trump for taking on a job he was / is SO ill prepared for and NOT augmenting himself with those who actually could help him. Learning the POTUS job through tweets as he does seems to be dangerous.
I don't think most sensible citizens no matter their affiliation would employ this man in MOST capacities. Maybe you would like a physician who "learned on the job" just as was going to do a surgery on you..
Jon Ossoff (should he win this seat) will also have to learn much but he won't be able to do the damage trump and his swamp dwellers have done in less than 100 days

SEND
Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld7 months ago

Rhoberta,
What makes you think that I am not complaining about the biases on those sites also? I am neither the voice of the left nor right, as I disagree with both. Unfortunately, those adhering to the philiosophies of either extreme appear to distort the truth significantly, and don blinders to the faults of their own. Both engage in disinformation, in order to win over the populous. Too many think only the opposition is involved in this tactic. You seem to have been hoodwinked also.

SEND
Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E7 months ago

dan, then why are you here if you're just going to complain about it. Go to an extreme right wing site. There are plenty out there. Maybe you just think you're the voice of the republicans to keep liberal thinking members on track ?

SEND
william Miller
william Miller7 months ago

Thanks

SEND
Chad Anderson
Chad A7 months ago

This is a district that seems perfectly aligned with the Clinton 2016 strategy of appealing to Republican voters appalled by Trump so Ossoff should be a pretty good test of how far that strategy can go.

SEND
Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld7 months ago

Rhoberta,
It is not a blame game. C2 makes no bones about the fact that they are in bed with the Democratic Party. Democrat good, Republican bad. That is about the extent of things.

SEND