- Thu, 04/20/2017 05:31 AM
All hopes of democrats that the political upstart Jon Ossoff would successfully deliver a rebuke to President Trump in Tuesday night’s Georgia congressional election was dashed to ashes. Now the front-runner has been forced into a June 20th runoff and the Republicans have pledged to unite and defeat the Democrats’ chosen candidate in two months. During the closing days of the contest, Trump pushed Republicans to the polls using robocalls and his Twitter account while taunting Democrats on Wednesday morning and calling the upcoming final contest “Hollywood vs. Georgia.”
With 48 percent, Ossoff was the clear leader before the dust settled in Tuesday’s crowded special election for the Georgia House seat, formerly held by Republican Tom Price, now Trump’s health secretary. His contender, top Republican vote-getter Karen Handel, former Georgia secretary of state, was at 20 percent. But despite support from prominent Democrats and celebrities and raising $8 million, compared to Handel's roughly $460,000, he fell short of the majority threshold required to outright win. Now, according to the so-called “jungle primary” system, the top two contenders i.e. Ossoff and Handel need to head into the June runoff. This has immediately changed the dynamics of the contest.
For Tuesday elections, 18 candidates of which 11 were Republicans, 5 Democrats and 2 independents were competing. Most Democrats supported Ossoff, a 30-year-old filmmaker and former congressional aide. But Republicans were sharply divided and split their vote among several contenders. Now with the number down to 2, Republicans are vowing to close ranks behind Handel’s candidacy. They have united and ready to do all to get Karen elected to Congress. Wednesday, Handel told “Fox & Friends” of having already spoken to most of her GOP competitors to unite the party as on stake is something bigger than one person. She even credited Trump with helping get out the vote and vowed, “I will prevail.”
An equally confident Ossoff addressed an Atlanta rally Tuesday night and stated of being ready to fight on and win in June if necessary. On his slamming of Republicans for their “dark money” and negative ads, Handsel defended that his predominant funding came from outside the district and attacked back on Ossoff that he did not even live in the Sixth District. Acknowledging it, Ossoff said the reason for it is to have his girlfriend remain closer to work.
Tuesday night result buds another hard-fought contest in June which might even draw national interest. As a counter to Democrats continued pressure post falling short in another recent House special election in Kansas, few Republicans have called on Trump to personally campaign in Georgia in lieu of a two-person race. In a statement Wednesday, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez stated of the Georgia outcome indicating voters are “fed up with Republican leadership.” He felt Jon Ossoff looked strong to become the first Democrat to represent the Georgia 6th in nearly 40 years. With the Republicans’ backs against the wall, Democrats can keep their foot on the gas through Election Day. He stated that the residents of Georgia’s 6th district deserve a representative who will fight for them.