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Trump celebrates after his unpopularity puts red seats in play

21 April 2017

The election was for the seat vacated by Republican Tom Price - who won with almost 62 per cent of the vote a year ago - after United States President Donald Trump appointed him Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Even with being outspent 2-to-1 with ad buys and robocalls by President Trump and his billionaire friends, Democrat Jon Ossoff will enter Georgia's Sixth Congressional District Special election runoff in a strong position, thanks to a groundswell of grassroots volunteers. Ossoff is a former congressional staffer and Handel is a former Georgia secretary of state.

A young Democratic Party candidate has come close to winning an outright victory for a US Congressional seat in a staunchly Republican district in Georgia, in an early sign of trouble for the ruling party in next year's mid-term elections. If no one reaches 50 percent, the top two vote-getters square off on June 20.

The victor will succeed Republican Tom Price, who resigned the seat to join Trump's administration as health secretary.

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While Karen Handel, a Republican, came in a distant second with 37,993 votes which represent 19.8% of the votes in the special election for a U.S. House seat in a Republican-dominated section of Georgia.

He also raised more than $8 million from party donors keen to send a message to Trump and the Republican Party at large ahead of the 2018 midterm elections - which will take place if Trump's approval rating continues to go down.

Trump, a businessman and TV celebrity elected without having previously held political office, has attacked Ossoff on Twitter, calling him a "super Liberal Democrat" who would "protect criminals, allow illegal immigration and raise taxes".

Ossoff earned 48.1 percent in Tuesday's election to replace former Republican Rep. Tom Price, barely eclipsing Clinton's performance, according to Real Clear Politics.

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Georgia's runoff Republican isn't running away from President Donald Trump. "Glad to be of help!" he wrote late on Tuesday.

For his part, Ossoff said for weeks his goal was to win outright, but he rejected any notion that he lost.

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As for whether Trump will campaign with Handel, Spicer said: "We'll see if we're needed". Last week, a House race in Kansas became unexpectedly competitive, with the GOP nominee defeating a Democrat by just seven points in a district Republicans won by more than 30 points in November.

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Trump weighed in heavily on the race, tweeting about it repeatedly in the closing days of the race and criticizing Ossoff by name.