ANALYSIS: What Handel’s win and Ossoff’s loss means for Republicans and Democrats

Republican Karen Handel avoided a major upset Tuesday night, winning the special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.

The Georgia Secretary of State confirmed, that with 100 percent of all precincts reporting, Handel won by a 52.13 percent-47.87 percent margin. That translated to 132,459 votes for Handel, and 121,635 votes for Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff.

Seeing an opportunity in this educated, affluent suburban district north of Atlanta, where President Trump barely beat Hillary Clinton, Democrats poured tens of millions of dollars into this race but still came up short.

Their base had money and energy to spend, but instead of sending a warning message ahead of next year’s midterm, it’s the Republicans who landed the last word.

Talking to voters here the last few days, it was apparent to many Republicans that this race was not about Trump, as much as it was about Capitol Hill. Folks we talked to here were proud to vote Republican — even the ones who said outright that they didn’t love the president. They are conservatives and have been for a long time. They respect small government, believe that a GOP-DC can bring real results, want a strong military and think the possibility of a Nancy Pelosi/Big Dem takeover is worse than any turmoil in the White House.

That said, there are plenty of people here at Handel’s victory party and throughout the district sporting their MAGA hats (and bedazzled MAGA pins). This race will have to change some of the national discourse, that even six months after the election, is still quick to paint Trump fans as uneducated or racist somehow. As The New York Times has reported, this is one of the most educated districts in the nation and people here are tired of these stereotypes.

As we have seen around the country, there is great distrust of Trump’s negative polling numbers here. People say they are just wrong. And an overwhelming frustration with, what they see as, widespread media bias….

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