Jon Ossoff Vs. Karen Handel: What National Media Are Saying

Trump, who used a robocall and his Twitter account in the contest's closing days to push Republicans to the polls, taunted Democrats on Wednesday morning, casting the upcoming final contest as "Hollywood vs. Georgia".

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.

Despite Ossoff's significant financial advantage, a slew of liberal celebrities boosting his profile, and a Democratic base eager to tag a win against Trump, the documentary filmmaker-turned-politician failed to reach the 50 percent threshold required to avoid a runoff.

The race was for the seat previously held by Republican Tom Price, who now serves as Trump's Health and Human Services Secretary.

On the Republican side, the White House press secretary called the election results "a big loss" for Democrats, saying the outcome "pretty much tracks" the results in the 2016 presidential election.

Democrats hoped to flip the seat in the Republican district that Trump won by less than 2 percentage points in November and gain some momentum for the midterm elections in 2018.

The nationally watched special election has already drawn millions of dollars, and Handel and Ossoff have hit the ground running since Tuesday's primary with more high-dollar fundraising and attack ads.

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Republicans in the race are split among Trump supporters and candidates trying to hold the president at arm's length. "Glad to be of help!" This is a district where people know me and they trust me.

"Even in our wildest dreams in August of a year ago, I don't think anyone thought that Tom Price's House district was up for grabs", Neil Sroka, spokesman for the progressive Democracy for America, said earlier this week. "They were clear going into this election that their goal was to get over 50 per cent, so they came up short", said Mr Spicer.

FEC records also show that 10 outside groups spent $541,586.70 in support of Ossoff's campaign as of April 19, a day after the election.

Komen did not withdraw their funding from Planned Parenthood in the end, and low-income women who needed breast exams could keep receiving them, thanks to Handel not getting her way.

"There is no doubt this is already a victory for the ages", Ossoff told his supporters, praising them for a campaign that has collected more than $8.3 million, most of it from well beyond Georgia.

Ossoff's failure to win the seat outright also highlights the ongoing problems with the Democratic Party.

Ossoff has capitalized on anti-Trump energy while still trying to appeal to independents and moderate Republicans - his only path to victory.

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