Who won the Georgia special election?

Last Updated Jun 20, 2017 11:21 PM EDT

Republican Karen Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in Tuesday’s special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District seat, dashing Democrats’ hopes of taking a seat Republicans have held since Newt Gingrich won it in 1978.

Handel had 52.5 percent of the vote compared to Ossoff’s 47.5 percent of the vote, with 81 percent of the district’s 208 precincts in the Atlanta suburbs reporting. 

Heavy flooding in the area made getting to the polls a challenge for voters, although more than 100,000 Georgians voted early. Handel will be the only woman in Georgia’s congressional delegation. 

The race between Handel and Ossoff has been the most expensive U.S. House race in history, and is projected to cost close to $60 million. Democrats outspent Republicans, in the hope of making the race a referendum against President Trump and his agenda. The seat was left vacant by Tom Price, selected by Mr. Trump to be secretary of Health and Human Services. 

In her victory speech, Handel thanked House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who texted her on a weekly basis to check in before he was shot last week at a congressional baseball practice that left him in critical condition. 

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

At one point, chants of, “Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump” broke out as Handel spoke. 

Ossoff also gave a brief speech, after a disappointing result. Handel described her Democratic opponent as “gracious.”

Democrat Jon Ossoff is joined by his finance, Alisha Kramer, as he addresses his supporters after his defeat in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District special election in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., June 20, 2017.

Reuters / Christopher Aluka Berry

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