Republican Karen Handel wins Georgia House race, beating back liberal wave

Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in the hotly contested congressional special election in suburban Atlanta Tuesday. Handel garnered 52 percent of the vote compared to Ossoff’s 48 percent when the Associated Press called the race Tuesday night.

At her campaign headquarters, Handel thanked her supporters, campaign team and President  Trump.

“A special thanks to the president of the United States of America,” Handel said, as the crowd chanted Trump’s name. She also mentioned House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., who was shot last week in an attack on Republican lawmakers at baseball practice. Handel said he texted her every week during the campaign to support her.

“We need to also lift up this nation so that we can find a more civil way to deal with our disagreements,” Handel said.

In beating Ossoff, a 30-year-old first-time candidate who mounted a surprisingly strong bid, Handel triumphed over a wave of liberal activism and organizing so robust that it transformed the once solidly red district to a total tossup in the months before the election. Democrats, fueled by anger at Trump and the Republican Congress’ efforts to repeal Obamacare, poured millions into the race, making it the most expensive congressional matchup in U.S. history.

Ossoff conceded the race earlier Tuesday, telling his supporters “hope is still alive.”

“This is not the outcome any of us were hoping for, but this is the beginning of something much bigger than us,” Ossoff told the crowd, giving a special shout-out to the “women in this community” who backed his run.

Congressional Republicans are likely heaving a sigh of relief at the result, the third straight loss for Democrats in their quest to flip historically red districts in special elections under Trump. Democrats also lost a lower-profile, fourth special election in South Carolina Tuesday night, though by a smaller margin than was expected in the district. Just last…

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