By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, June 20, 2017, efforts by national Democrats to win congressional Special Elections failed with Republicans taking both the special election in Georgia and the race in South Carolina.
Georgia’s Sixth District was especially heavily targeted. Both sides poured in tens of millions of dollars. The election was the most expensive House race in the history of the country. Democrats from all over the country the country donated to Jon Ossoff’s anti-Trump campaign in record numbers, even though Ossoff did not actually live in the district and had never held a public office before. GOP nominee Karen Handel was a former Georgia Secretary of State and former county commissioner; but she had lost in runs for both Governor and Senate and appeared to be a political has been. At one point, Ossoff was outraising Handel five to one with most of that money coming from outside Georgia. Large Republican Super PACs eventually came forward to close much of that gap.
Of the last eight polls taken Handel won just one +2 by the Trafalgar Group, two had the race in a dead heat, and five had Ossoff winning. The Atlanta Journal Constitution even had Ossoff up by a daunting +7 on Friday. With 99 percent of the vote, Handel was cruising to an easy six point win. The apparent failure of the polls to once again reflect what was happening on the ground is bringing into question to the science behind polling.
Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) said on social media, “Handel and common sense defeated the Democrat candidate who lived outside the district.”
Alabama Republican volunteers with the Mighty Alabama Strike Force had been working door to door for former Sec. Handel in Marietta. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R) and former US Ambassador to the United Nation John Bolton campaigned hard for Handel.
Alabama Republican Women President Frances Taylor said in a statement on social media, “On bended knee I am thankful for the win tonight in Georgia – AND South Carolina! To all the people – especially those from Alabama – who traveled over to Georgia to make this happen – THANK YOU! Karen Handel is the real thing – she is so enormously impressive and will do a wonderful job in Congress!!! We as a nation will be blessed by her leadership – she is truly that amazing! So thank you to the members of the NFRW (Carrie Almond Becky Johnson, Martha Jenkins, Jody Eller Rushton, etc.) and AFRW (Joan Reynolds, Dawn Ray, Joyce Clark and so many others) who helped to make Karen Handel the FIRST FEMALE REPUBLICAN Representative to Congress from the great state of Georgia! (Beth Chapman- we love your fellow Secretary of State). God Bless you and long may you serve our great nation!!”
Handel has 127,000 votes to Ossoff’s 114,000. More than 50,000 people who did not vote in November came out to vote in the Special Election.
Ossoff said, “While this is not the outcome that we hoped for the fight goes on and hope remains alive.”
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) said in a statement, “Congratulations to Karen Handel on a hard-earned and well-deserved victory. Democrats from coast to coast threw everything they had at this race, and Karen would not be defeated. The people of Georgia’s 6th Congressional District are the big winners tonight because they have elected a representative who is going to tirelessly fight for them and their interests.”
Speaker Ryan continued, “Karen is all business. I’ve campaigned with her and I know how eager she is to get to work. I’m excited to have her as a partner in the House of Representatives, and I look forward to working with her as we tackle our country’s most pressing problems.”
Like Alabama, the Republican Party holds every statewide elected office in Georgia as well as commanding majorities in both Houses of the legislature. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s (D) presidential campaign had targeted the Republican state as a possible red state pickup; but those dreams failed to unfold on election day.
President Donald J. Trump (R) said on Twitter, “Congratulation to Karen Handel on her fantastic race in Georgia’s District 6. We are very proud of you.”
The vacancy was created when Congressman Tom Price (R) was appointed Health and Human Services Secretary by President Donald J. Trump (R).
In South Carolina, Republican Ralph Norman (R) defeated Democrat Archie Parnell 51.1 percent to 47.9 percent. The American, Libertarian, and Green County Party candidates combined for one percent.
Norman said the voters sent a message: “That it is time to go to work and get things done.”
The South Carolina vacancy was created by was vacated when Trump appointed Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R) to be director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Original reporting by Fox News, the New York Times, the Hill and ABC News contributed to this report.