In Georgia's 6th Congressional district, last night's special election found Democrat Jon Ossoff coming up just short in his quest to win the race outright. After getting 48% of the vote he'll be facing second-place finisher Republican Karen Handel in a June 20th runoff.
That means Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel, the race’s top two vote-getters, will have nine more weeks of expensive and heating campaigning before voters will decide who will replace Tom Price, now Trump’s health secretary, as the representative for Atlanta’s affluent, leafy northern suburbs in the House.
Ossoff, a 30-year-old documentary film maker and political novice, told his supporters late Tuesday that a runoff “shattered expectations.” “We will be ready to fight on and win in June if it is necessary,” he said.
Earlier Tuesday evening, former Secretary of State Karen Handel vowed “start the campaign anew” on Wednesday, as her onetime Republican opponents began to coalesce around her. “Beating Ossoff and holding this seat is something that rises above any one person,” she told supporters.
Outside groups poured millions into the nationally-watched contest, which was widely viewed as an early indicator of Trump’s popularity as he closed out his first 100 days in office. Even the president himself weighed in, via a series of attacks against Ossoff on Twitter, and he tweeted again moments after CNN called the race.
Of course Trump tweeted that he was "glad to be of help" in stopping Ossoff and the "FAKE media".
However if the name Karen Handel sounds familiar, it should. She's the wingnut former Georgia Secretary of State behind the state's 2005 Voter ID law who was dismissed from a breast cancer non-profit in 2012 over her efforts to stop the charity Komen Foundation from supporting Planned Parenthood mammograms over abortion. At one point she even made a junk science claim that abortions increased the rate of breast cancer among women, so that it was immoral for the Komen Foundation to support PP. The outrage back in 2012 and 2013 drove her from the charity and back into state politics.
And yeah, note that Georgia's Voter ID bill became law before Obama even took office. She was well ahead of the curve on Republican efforts suppressing the black vote.
Handel is dangerous. But Ossoff is going to have nine weeks of Republican attack ads and Trump tweets aimed straight at him. Here's hoping he can get the win two months from now.