Republican Karen Handel Wins Hotly-Contested Georgia Congressional Special Election


Republican Karen Handel has beaten Democrat Jon Ossoff to win a high-stakes, high-cost Georgia race that Hollywood tried passionately to sway left, the AP is reporting.

The race to fill Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, which Tom Price vacated to become Trump’s Health Secretary, offered an early test for Trump and the GOP’s potential prospects in the 2018 mid-term elections. Tuesday’s highly-anticipated runoff was the most expensive House campaign in history, with a price tag of more than $50 million.

Democrats rallied around Jon Ossoff — a 30-year-old documentary filmmaker and former congressional aide —  who had a slight edge over Handel — a former Georgia secretary — in the days leading up to the Election. But by Tuesday, polls showed the two were in a neck-and-neck race.

The district has been staunchly Republican for a generation. In 2012 Mitt Romney won it by 23 percentage points. But in 2016, Trump won by just 1.5 points, offering Democrats an opening. They would need to win at least 24 seats to reclaim a House majority.

But the 6th District is a tough one for any Democrat: It has been in Republican hands since 1979, when Newt Gingrich first claimed it. He held it for 20 years, including during his time as Speaker of the House.

Hollywood heavily invested in the race, with Sarah Silverman, Debra Messing, Mark Ruffalo, Kerry Washington, Danny Zuker, Beau Willimon, Billy Baldwin and Alex Gibney all taking to Twitter Tuesday to urge voters to vote for Ossoff.

Others, like Jane Fonda, John Leguizamo, Sam Waterston, Kristen Bell, Connie Britton, Jessica Lange, Lynda Carter, Rhea Perlman and Jon Cryer contributed to Ossoff’s campaign, according to his Federal Election Commission report.

Samuel L. Jackson cut a 45-second radio ad endorsing Ossoff. And Alyssa Milano personally drove people to the polls.

Not to be outdone, Republicans used Hollywood’s intervention as a way to fundraise for their candidate.

“Hollywood is all-in on electing Ossoff,” Handel’s campaign wrote to supporters the day after Milano campaigned for him. “The Democrats have the liberal media and Hollywood celebrities to sing their praises. But we have something better: YOU. It’s critical that we come together now to support Republicans committed to fighting against the Democrats’ liberal vision for America.”

President Trump gave his last minute pitch to Georgia voters just before 6 a.m. Tuesday, reminding his millions of followers that “Democrat Jon Ossoff, who wants to raise your taxes to the highest level and is weak on crime and security, doesn’t even live in district.” In another tweet he added: “KAREN HANDEL FOR CONGRESS. She will fight for lower taxes, great healthcare strong security-a hard worker who will never give up! VOTE TODAY.”

Trump also congratulated Handel on her victory.

Ossoff, a political novice, has campaigned as a moderate Democrat favoring cost-cutting. He faced criticism for not living in the sixth district. Ossoff explained that he is currently living with his girlfriend while she completes medical school at Emory University just outside the district’s borders.

Meanwhile critics of Handel, a former county official and Georgia secretary of state, has openly opposed same-sex adoption, telling a reporter earlier this month that allowing same-sex couples to adopt is not in “the best interest of the child.”

Those conservative positions on social issues are one of the qualities that made her an enemy of left-leaning entertainers — but so did her affiliation with the president, one of the most despised people in Hollywood.

Source: The Wrap

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