Atlanta, GA Republican candidate Karen Handel secured victory in the unofficial election results Tuesday night. The election to replace Dr. Tom Price newly appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services, came to an end with a 51.87% victory for Handel to 48.13% defeat for Democrat Jon Ossoff. The voter turnout for the run-off summed to a total of 57.97%.
The race garnered national attention and became the most expensive House race in US History. Estimates place the expenses on behalf of both campaigns to sum nearly $60 million dollars.
Karen Handel also made history by being the first Republican woman Georgia has sent to Congress.
The campaign was an attempt by the Democrat party to "flip the seat" and they were hopeful to send President Trump a message that the American people were resisting his policies. The Democrats circled the Wagons behind Ossoff long before the special election. The efforts were a referendum on Trump.
Resist movement=0, Trump=5
The resist movement thus far in 2017 has resulted in 0 wins for the Democrats, and 5 Wins for Trump. Shadowed by the coverage for the 6th district race, South Carolina's 5th District elected Ralph Norman, a Republican, to replace Mick Mulvaney. His resignation followed appointment as White House budget director.
The Democrats were stunned by two losses on the same day. The South Carolina seat received the least amount of attention from either side, and a mere $275,000 in contribution from the National Democrat party.
Ossoff, 30 year old former intern and aid to Rep. Hank Johnson was also mentored by Rep. John Lewis. Ossoff had much financial support from his party. In fact, less than 97% of the millions raised from his campaign was from Georgia. The bulk of that funding came from California. Early reports indicate that less than 3% of Ossoff's support came from Georgia.
Ossoff does not live in the 6th district either and has shown a pattern of misrepresenting his distance from the 6th District, his national security experience, and his professional experience. The DNC, DCC, Georgia Democrats, and Democrats across the nation showed their support for Ossoff.
Handel received fundraising support from Speaker Paul Ryan's PAC, President Trump, and Vice-President Pence.
Handel remained positive throughout the campaign. She previously served as the Secretary of State for Georgia and had two failed bids for Governor and Congress. Republicans rallied behind their nominee raising less money then the democrats and securing victory with less money per vote then the Democrats.
Handel was off to an early lead as absentee and early voting results started rolling in. She fell behind Ossoff briefly by a few points. She regained the lead and ended up winning by about five percentage points. Handel received support from the Georgia Republican Party, RNC, surrounding district and county Republicans. Like the Democrats, Handel also received out of town help from the RNC, NFRW, and Young Republican groups from the state and nationally. The state party, under new chairman John Watson, provide state-wide support and GOTV (Get Out The Vote) efforts. In a statement issued moments after the final precincts were tallied, Chairman Watson issued this statement.
This signals a new era of politics and party support in Georgia. This direction will prove to beneficial as Republicans look to hang on to seats in the mid-term elections coming up next year. The democrat turnout is generally lower for mid-terms then Republicans. The actions by the Democrats in 2017 and the efforts of the resist movement signal they will continue to fight with as much desperation as possible to defeat Trump.They will also spend millions in the effort to defeat Trump.
Handel will join a prestigious line of Republicans elected to represent the 6th District. She follows Newt Gingrich who went on to become speaker of the house and a presidential candidate, Johnny Isackson who went on to become and remains a senator from Georgia, and Dr,. Tom Price who went on to become the newly appointed Secretary of Human and Health Services.
In her victory speech, following the concession speech by Ossoff, Handel congratulated Ossoff for his campaign and pledged to work with his supporters as their congressman. She emphasized her life-long commitment and involvement in the Republican party and conservative track record. She also pointed out that she had lived in the district for 25 years, unlike Ossoff who grew up, allegedly, in the district, but resides in the 5th District.
The 5th District is home to two Congressman.
Karen thanked her staff, volunteers, and the people of the 6th District for their win. She conceded her humility in victory that resulted from the support of her campaign. She stated "My pledge is to be part of the solution, to focus on governing" Handel said "It's that fighting sprit, that perseverance, and tenacity that I will take to Washington". She has previously mentioned her success in the private sector and in politics after leaving an abusive home as a teenager.
Republicans can rest easy today knowing they held on to a heavily fought for Republican strong-hold in the 6th district, a district Hillary defeated Trump in, and that they made history.