Handel Celebrates 6th District Results, Gets Ready For Runoff

Georgia runoff seen as Trump test

The nearest Republican was former Georgia secretary of state Karen Handel, who won just 19.8 per cent of the vote.

Democrat Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old former congressional aide fueled by a colossal fundraising haul from out-of-state donors, came within two percentage points of an outright victory Tuesday over 17 other candidates in Georgia's traditionally Republican 6th Congressional District.

Democrat Jon Ossoff ended up as the top vote getter in a crowded field of 18 candidates vying to fill a vacant seat in the House of Representatives.

Was it also a "big loss" for Karen Handel, a seasoned Republican candidate who has far more experience in politics than Ossoff? Former Rep. Tom Price vacated the seat earlier this year after being confirmed as secretary of health and human services.

Leaders in both major parties agree the race offers a prime test run for 2018 elections, because the affluent, well-educated Georgia district is replete with the kind of voters Democrats must attract to reclaim a House majority and win more gubernatorial and Senate races.

Ossoff's campaign was boosted by the support of numerous celebrities, including from Star Trek actor George Takei and anti-Trump talk show host Chelsea Handler, the latter of whom donated to the young Democrat and used her almost 7 million-strong Twitter following to urge Georgia voters to turn out. And while Handel tweeted thanking Trump for a call after last night's election, it's unclear whether his involvement is more of a help or a hindrance for her prospects - and other Republicans in tough races. And Trump let the world know he played a role - via a robocall and tweets - writing this: "Glad to be of help!"

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"It does tell you this is the kind of seat that Democrats would and should focus on", he told CNN. He didn't clear 50 percent, they say, and he barely improved on Clinton's performance in Georgia 6.

Ossoff almost pulled off a major upset win in a district comprising some of Atlanta's wealthiest, best-educated suburbs - an area that has been represented in Congress by Republicans for almost four decades.

Trump blasted Ossoff on Twitter and said in a robocall that the Democrat would "raise your taxes, destroy your healthcare, and flood our country with illegal immigrants". A Democratic victory in the district would be unprecedented and speak volumes about how the public views Trump's presidency and the Republican party.

"We want everybody who is supportive of Republicans, so absolutely", Handel told The Associated Press after taking a congratulatory call from Trump on Wednesday.

The commercial, combined with an anti-Ossoff ad Wednesday from a GOP group, are a sign of what's to come.

As for Handel, she has already started focusing on the runoff.

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