Karen Handel Wins Georgia Special Election — Now What?

Republicans celebrated yet another victory on Tuesday night, as Karen Handel won the Georgia 6th District special election race to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

Handel, a former Georgia Secretary of State and controversial figure who attempted to oust Planned Parenthood from receiving funding from Komen Race for the Cure, beat Democrat Jon Ossoff in a runoff election. The race followed a primary in which Ossoff beat her by over thirty percentage points.

Handel’s victory came at a multi-million dollar price tag in what has been called the most expensive House race in history. Handel and her supporters spent a small majority of the more than $50 million total in order to hold onto the seat, which has been in solid Republican hands for almost four decades

Over 120,000 voters — or about a quarter of the eligible voters in the district — voted early in this high attention race.

But despite the large turnout and the overwhelming lack of enthusiasm for Republican President Donald Trump, Ossoff was unable to pull off the underdog victory that many hoped would signal a rejection of the Trump administration and the beginning of a new Democratic wave heading into the 2018 midterms.

Handel, for her own part, also distanced herself from the unpopular president.

Handel held a fundraiser with the president in April, but did not associate herself with the Trump much beyond then, presumably due to his unpopularity in the district,” reports Talking Points Memo. “However, in the final weeks of the race she brought in Price, Vice President Mike Pence and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, the former Georgia governor.”

Of course, now that her victory is secure, the congresswoman-elect is far more careful to embrace her party leader. “Republican Karen Handel is thanking President Donald Trump for supporting her victory in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, which keeps a key seat in the party’s hands,” reports the Associated Press out of Georgia. “Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff on Tuesday. Trump tweeted his congratulations to Handel on her ‘big win,’ saying ‘we are all very proud of you.’”

According to the AP, Handel now vows that helping “finishing the party’s health care bill” is one of her top priorities.

As with all of the other recent GOP special election wins, Republicans are cheering their continued dominance in not turning over any of their seats. Meanwhile, Democrats point to the closer-than-usual victories as a sign of how badly President Trump has damaged the right.

But no matter how thin each margin is in comparison to past elections, the simple fact of the matter remains: While momentum may in fact be shifting to the left, it is not doing so in a significant enough measure to give progressives what they really need — more votes in Congress.

Can we change that fact in time for midterm elections? According to Paul Kane at the Washington Post, the key is to attack attack attack.

“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,” he writes. “The question that remains to be answered is whether Democrats need more warriors or more priests; complete resistance or civil resistance.”

Are Democrats ready to be more “sticks and stones” and toss civility to the wolves as the midterms approach? Odds are, they will have plenty to work with if they do.

The newest version of the health care bill is being created utterly in secrecy and will probably still kick millions off their insurance. The president’s continued new austerity budget plans will drive many lower income families further into debt, with no safety net to save them. And at this rate, we could be in multiple military skirmishes all before a single 2018 ballot is cast.

Republicans have a vast number of House and Senate seats to defend come midterm elections. And while close is good — as in Georgia’s 6th — we must have real victories if we wish to stop the Trump agenda.

Photo Credit: karendesuyo/Flickr

51 comments

Marie W
Marie W9 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Paul B
Paul B5 months ago

Consistency is definitely Cletus's strong suit. Attack, insult and deflect, all designed to silencing anyone he disagrees with.... especially after being shown up projecting falsehoods, misrepresentations and outright lies. That is typically his only defense. It's an ugly trait to have, but he wears it proudly. Civil discourse must not be allowed, as we are witnessing over an over again from the left. The hostility is severely limiting their ability to view anything beyond emotional responses to the propaganda they are being fed, supported by little or no FACT, almost exclusively projection, generalization and speculation of what "might" happen. Even though the tried and true media sources have repeatedly been shown to have lied about facts from anonymous sources, they don't allow that fact to deter them. Its a precarious time as logic and reason are overshadowed by emotional rhetoric. A sad and dangerous time indeed.

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Regus Slantei
Regus Slantei5 months ago

Coming as it does from a worshiper of the Bronze Hued Turd, the charge "But, again, you can't tell these people anything".....is a classic, quintessential case of psychological PROJECTION. When was the last time you saw a [R] respond cogently to a set of facts?

Ask yourself, if [D]s really have no chance of "winning back the house next year", then why would [R] political trollops like Rachel be sent by her 'johns' to post their political catechisms on Care2, which only ends up embarrassing herself and her cause by exposing her strained and delusional rightwing hypocrisy?

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Margie F
Margie F5 months ago

Okay

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Rachel -
Rachel -5 months ago

So Democrat leaders are trying to decide if they should be less civil and more openly hostile. Okay that's actually hilarious, but that aside I agree with several posts, Paul B among them. Maybe if Dems dumped their neoliberal centrist ideologues and had an actual platform rather than merely claiming a vote for them is a referendum against Trump. It's never going to work, but.. whatever.. they don't want to hear it. Instead, inexplicably ignoring that their chances of winning back the House next year are virtually zero. And the Senate - at this rate they should be worried about defending the seats they have. But, again, you can't tell these people anything.

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Mary B
Mary B5 months ago

I noticed an odd phrase that is often used but is totally wrong. It is " bla bla bla will drive low income people into debt." Low income people can't get loans or credit cards. They lose everything when there is little or no income. The social safety net is barely helpful at all. We must stop wasting time on these ego fights with pathetic right wing parisites, and start flooding congress with demands for what we need. The top of my list is a garenteed living wage monthly income for everybody 18 and over, direct from the Treasury Dept. That will change the ballance of power immediately. Let the repubs know once and for all that WE ARE NOT their possessions to force into their jobs just to survive .We will not be denied food, shelter and health care at their disgression . The repubs will never learn because they like the status quo . They are exploiters and destroyers by definition. Focus on them just feeds them and they just keep repeating the same old thing anyway.

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Regus S
Regus Slantei5 months ago

Brian F.,

Please never, ever forget that you should go f**K yourself so robustly that your nose bleeds with the effort.

Over the past year, I have discredited in detail just about every claim and lie you have tried to peddle here on Care2.

You think of yourself as a "progressive", but in reality you are nothing but a disgraced boot-licking, a$$-kissing trollop for the rightwing of this country. Bernie knows this full-well: he has ALREADY PUBLICLY DISOWNED cretins like you.

Cletus

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Regus Slantei
Regus Slantei5 months ago

-- cont --

......a tax cut bill for the rich disguised as a health care bill....one that will leave ~20 million of your fellow citizens without coverage!!....when yours, despite controlling all branches of government, has to resort to extra constitutional behavior and changes to longstanding senate rules to satisfy your short term ideological goals.
You are correct: [R] dysfunction IS a wonder to behold!

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Regus Slantei
Regus Slantei5 months ago

Paul B.,

Good try at protecting your snuggle-buddy David F. You should go re-read his post, not only the one on this thread -- but the substanceless, hate-filled diatribes he's posted on other Care2 threads about Pelosi -- because he DID IN FACT make that claim. It is pure Trumpism for you to ignore the plain-as-day facts and try to sell your blatant rightwing-apologist alt-reality.

You make an accusation of "Dem hysteria", merely because a few [D]s dare to question their [D] leadership?! Really?? I think that inane accusation speaks volumes for the wretched state of mind that [R]s bear these days. It used to be natural and welcome to question the political leadership......now you insipid rightwing brown-shirts have an immediate, knee-jerk reactionary response to all forms of criticism....just because the substance behind the current head of your own political personality cult is too weak to sustain any criticism: your despicably gullible behavior, all in the name of raw partisanship, is not too far off from how the Nazi's expected Germans to always treat the object of their personality cult.

Again, it takes a severe bout of terminal HYPOCRISY for you to allege that dysfunction abounds in the [D] party, when yours is led by a dishonest childish narcissist with a strong attraction towards liars, bigots and Russian autocrats....when yours is so dishonest with itself and the American people that it attempts to pass a tax-cut bill for the

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Chad A
Chad A5 months ago

The Democrats have to stop running the "This person is so bad" campaign and actually vocally stand for the kind of universal policies that are embraced by a supermajority.

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