Runoff In Georgia’s 6th
John Ossoff, a Democrat, narrowly missed winning a Georgia congressional district once held by Newt Gingrich in a special election Tuesday night that many saw as a referendum on President Trump.
Receiving 48.1 percent of the vote, Mr. Osoff, 30, just missed the 50 percent threshold needed to avert a runoff and win the district outright. He will now face Karen Handel, the top Republican vote getter, in a runoff election set for June.
Mr. Ossoff outperformed polls that had him getting no more than 45 percent of the vote in the days leading up to the special election. The first election for Mr. Ossoff, a documentary filmmaker and former congressional staff member, his success in a heavily conservative district that President Trump carried last year and was previously represented by Tom Price, current health and human services secretary, could spell trouble for the larger Republican party come midterm elections in 2018.
The Sixth District, consisting of Atlanta’s suburbs, hasn’t seen a Democrat control the seat since the Carter Administration. Despite the highly conservative makeup of the district, Mr. Osoff was able to raise $8.3 million dollars, more than four times the money of the next closest candidate.
While the funds weren’t enough to prevent a runoff, his strong showing has energized the Democratic base and all but guarantees the national Democratic party will continue to invest heavily in the race leading up to the June election.
In a statement released Wednesday morning after the race was called Mr. Ossof said, “This is already a remarkable victory. We defied the odds, shattered expectations, and now are ready to fight on and win in June.”
There’s concern that Mr. Osoff won’t be able to maintain his momentum now that the race has been narrowed down to just him and Ms. Handel, from a crowded field of 18 candidates. Ms. Handel is a former Georgia Secretary of State and supporter of President Trump and will have the full backing of the national party to ensure that the district stays under republican control come the June 20 election.