Democrat closes in on Congress seat in Georgia
- Author: Ernesto Newman Apr 21, 2017,
Apr 21, 2017, 0:28
Democrat Jon Ossoff almost won Tuesday night's special election outright thanks largely to voters angry over the presidency of Donald Trump.
Voters in the 6th District have also elected the likes of Republican U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, who represented the 6th from 1999 to 2005, and most recently, former Republican U.S. Representative Tom Price held the seat from 2005 until he resigned in 2017 to become the Nation's Health Secretary.
What Handel told the crowd is getting major buzz Wednesday morning. The government is funded through April 28.
Ossoff was quick to declare "a victory for the ages" for Democrats.
"This is a Republican district but it is not a strongly Trump district", House Republican Tom Cole said of the sixth district, home to many well-educated voters who are reliably Republican but frustrated by the new president.
Republicans in the race are split among Trump supporters and candidates trying to hold the president at arm's length.
"Let's celebrate and get some sleep and hit the ground running so that on June 20, we keep the 6th district red and kick a little Ossoff", said Handel to roaring applause. "If you had told me a couple of months ago or told anyone that a Democratic candidate would've come a couple of percentage points of an outright win in a district that hasn't been competitive in decades, I think I would've been stunned". His strong showing in the conservative district, driven by eye-popping fundraising numbers from out-of-state donors, underscored Democrats' eagerness to get a win against Trump as they strive to take back House control in 2018.
The race was supposed to make headlines just in Georgia, but it captivated the entire country and attracted a list of celebrities including Debra Messing, Samuel L. Jackson, and Alyssa Milano who were out campaigning in force for Ossoff. Democrats mostly consolidated support behind Ossoff, a 30-year-old filmmaker and former congressional aide. "Glad to be of help!" he wrote late on Tuesday. "‶We defied the odds, shattered expectations, and now are ready to fight on and win in June". 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? He also dismissed Republican claims that he did not live in the district, pointing out that he grew up there and was now living with his girlfriend one mile outside the boundary.
A political action committee backed by Ryan and other House GOP leaders funneled more than $2 million into attacks on Ossoff, tying him to national Democrats like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.