On Tuesday, March 18th, there was a special election held in Georgia's 6th Congressional District, which included the northern suburbs of Atlanta, to serve out the remainder of Tom Price's term. Tom Price left Congress earlier this year to accept a position in Donald Trump's Cabinet as the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
For the election, there was an open ballot where everyone who met the basic qualifications and followed the filing procedures was listed as a choice. This led to a choice between 18 entrants— eleven Republicans, five Democrats, and two independents. If anyone had reached the 50% threshold, he or she would have been declared the winner, but since that wasn't the case, there will be a runoff election June 20th between the top two vote-getters-- Jon Ossoff (D) and Karen Handel (R).
The seat had been in Republican hands since 1979 following the election of Newt Gingrich, including the last 12 years with Tom Price. However, the Democrats saw an opening after the historic low turnouts in special elections combined with Donald Trump losing the primary in the district to Marco Rubio, and only narrowly beating Hillary Clinton by 1.5% in the general election. The Democrats coalesced around 30-year-old Jon Ossoff’s campaign spending over $8 million and also getting help from celebrities, such as Debra Messing, George Takei, and Samuel L. Jackson.
Meanwhile, the Republican side was essentially a free-for-all.
The final result saw Jon Ossoff receiving 48.1% of the vote, and Karen Handel, a Republican, came in second with only 19.8% the vote.
So which side came out looking the best? Predictably it depends on what your source is:
From the Washington Post: "Republicans avoided calamity in this month’s two special elections, but a lot more peril lies ahead."
The New York Times: "Jon Ossoff, a Democrat, Narrowly Misses Outright Win in Georgia House Race."
Salon: "To be continued: Georgia special election ends in runoff, as Jon Ossoff comes shy of majority."
Then there's Breitbart News: "Glenn Thrush: My Inbox Is ‘Flooded By Democrats’ Saying ‘Ossoff Was a Terrible Candidate.’"
Fox News: "Georgia race: GOP vows to unite, beat Ossoff after forcing runoff with Trump's help."
Of course, Donald Trump had to weigh in Tweeting:
As one can imagine, the truth lies somewhere in-between. For this, I refer to The Resurgent's Erick Erickson, who also hosts an afternoon drive time radio talk show one on of Atlanta's most listened to radio stations, WSB. On the morning following the election, he wrote the article: "The Truth About What Happened in the GA-06 Special Election is Different From Either Party’s Spin" which made three contrasting points:
- "Don’t believe the Democrat spin that “it should never have been this close.” The race featured 18 people of two parties on a single ballot."
- "Don’t believe the Republican spin that this was expected and they’re home free in the runoff."
- "Don’t believe the White House spin that this was not a rebuke of the President. The more closely aligned a candidate was with President Trump, the worse that candidate did."
Then looking forward to the June runoff:
She (Karen Handel) lives there and they know her, unlike Ossoff. Ossoff does have a fired up, enthusiastic base. But the GOP has a candidate who has some distance between herself and Trump and she fits the demographic of the district better than Ossoff. Republicans also now know they really must win this seat.
Finally, I'll leave this warning from Mark Levin that the Washington DC Republicans need to get their act together soon, start delivering on their years of unkept campaign promises and that it's time for the GOP leadership to resign.