President Donald Trump applauded Republicans competing in the first big special election of his presidency on Tuesday night.
Georgia’s 6th congressional district race ended with Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel headed toward a June runoff.
Ossoff won about 48% of the vote. Handel, his closest Republican challenger, secured roughly 20%.
“Despite major outside money, FAKE media support & eleven Republican candidates, BIG “R” win with runoff in Georgia. Glad to be of help!,” Trump tweeted Tuesday night.
Ossoff had sought to claim the congressional seat outright on Tuesday, but fell short of the 50%+ needed to avoid a runoff.
Ossoff was a documentary filmmaker and former congressional aide before he jumped into the race. He has raised more than $US8 million from party donors keen to send a message to Trump and the Republican Party at large ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, when Democrats hope to reclaim seats in the House and Senate.
Some observers warned against extrapolating this particular election as a predictor for national midterm contests in 2018, though the results in Georgia’s 6th district were seen as a general indication of voter sentiment toward Trump and Republicans in Congress. Trump won the district by 1.5 points last November. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, for whom the seat is being filled, won by more than 20 points in 2016.
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