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Why Are Republicans So Scared Of Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff?

21 April 2017

Democrats were hoping for a surprise win in Georgia, but they came up just short in Tuesday night's special election in a district held by Republicans for almost four decades.

Instead, Ossoff, who would become the youngest member of Congress if elected, forced a June runoff with the GOP front-runner, former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, which will check the temperature of the 2018 races.

An Ossoff victory, which almost came to pass despite the long Republican tradition in the district, would have sent even marginally vulnerable House Republicans into a panic that the unpopularity of President Donald Trump could bring them down next November. Johnny Isakson. Price won 62 percent of the vote in November, and Democrats pointed to Ossoff's success in cutting into the GOP's most recent showing as evidence the Democrat can win the runoff. This Tuesday it was another special election - this one in suburban Atlanta - where a slew of GOP candidates managed to keep Democrat Jon Ossoff just under 50%, forcing a June runoff.

Republican candidate for Georgia's Sixth Congressional seat Karen Handel speaks at an election night watch party in Roswell, Ga., Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

The White House downplayed the results of Tuesday's congressional election in Georgia, calling it a major loss for Democrats.

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Ossoff's campaign was boosted by the support of numerous celebrities, including from Star Trek actor George Takei and anti-Trump talk show host Chelsea Handler, the latter of whom donated to the young Democrat and used her almost 7 million-strong Twitter following to urge Georgia voters to turn out.

Ms. Handel, 55, has portrayed herself as a Trump supporter, though she was less fervent in her backing for him than were the other Republican candidates in the race, who adopted Mr. Trump's catchphrases and style in an attempt to stand out. "Glad to be of help!"

DuBose Porter, chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party, said the district offers the ideal setting for Democrats to prove their momentum heading into 2018. He didn't clear 50 percent, they say, and he barely improved on Clinton's performance in Georgia 6.

That attention has unnerved some Republicans, including President Donald Trump, who attacked Ossoff via his Twitter account.

Ossoff attempted to make the special election all about President Donald Trump.

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CAMEROTA: I mean, very quickly, President Trump only won there by one percentage point.

Ossoff was backed by major Democratic PACs and raised $8.3 million this quarter, mostly from outside groups.

The special election was seen as an early test of anti-Trump sentiment and the president's ability to retain the loyalty of Republican voters.

Ossoff was quick to declare "a victory for the ages" for Democrats. The party avoided embarrassment last week when it narrowly held a conservative Kansas seat vacated when Trump tapped Republican Representative Mike Pompeo to head the Central Intelligence Agency.

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Why Are Republicans So Scared Of Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff?