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After Georgia, Republicans celebrating, Dems searching

21 June 2017

The latest GOP victor is Karen Handel, who won about 52 percent of the vote in Georgia's 6th Congressional District to quell the upstart phenomenon of Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old Democrat who raised more than $23 million and became a symbol of opposition to President Donald Trump.

A Handel win could energise Republicans, boosting their efforts with health care and tax reform legislation. She touts traditional supply side economics, going so far as to say during one debate that she does "not support a living wage" - her way of explaining her opposition to a minimum-wage increase.

Returns showed Ms Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, winning about 52% of the vote over Democrat Jon Ossoff, who won almost 48% in Georgia's 6th Congressional District. She's likely to face another tough Democratic challenger in November 2018, although Ossoff has said he hasn't yet decided whether he'll run again.

On policy, Handel mostly echoes the GOP line.

While Trump has also accused Ossoff of wanting to raise taxes, however, Ossoff has stated that he is against "any increase in income tax rates" and called the president's criticism "misinformed".

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"He was more than gracious and he thanked me for a spirited campaign". She noted last week's shooting of Republican House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and said politics has become too embittered. "Because in these United States of America, no one - no one - should ever feel their life threatened over their political beliefs".

As much of the district was drenched by rain and under flash flood warnings, state and local election officials reported few issues at the polls amid steady turnout by early afternoon. Rep. Joe Crowley of NY, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said that there are 71 districts that will be more favorable for Democrats to contest than the one in Georgia.

The margin allows Republicans a sigh of relief after what is being recognised as the most expensive House of Representatives race in U.S. history, with a price tag that may exceed 50 million dollars (£40 million).

The Democrats are looking to capitalise on the president's low personal approval ratings to win Georgia's sixth district seat.

But the district barely supported Donald Trump in the presidential election, and gerrymandering and shifting demographics have turned that red a shade of pink in recent years.

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Ossoff led an April primary but fell just short of an outright victory, sending an already costly race into a two-month runoff campaign. Price won each time he was on the ballot since 2004 with more than 60% of the vote. Other than President Donald Trump who only won by 1 point in 2016, Republicans usually put up huge numbers there.

Handel won the conservative-leaning district, which stretches from the outskirts of Marietta to north DeKalb County, by running up big margins in GOP strongholds in places such as east Cobb County and Milton where Republicans have long thrived.

It was the best shot the party had of the four House special elections this spring to win a seat that now belongs to Republicans. But in November 2018, Democrats are expected to have many better pick-up opportunities.

A former Georgia secretary of state, Handel emphasized her experience and roots in Georgia's 6th Congressional District to defeat Ossoff and keep a seat that's always been held by Republicans in GOP hands.

Voting technology activists also are keeping a close eye on the race after new details emerged last week about a security lapse at the center that manages Georgia's election technology. CNN projected just after 9 p.m. ET, Republican Ralph Norman will win the special election in the SC 5th Congressional District, defeating Democrat Archie Parnell in a closer than expected race to fill Mick Mulvaney's seat.

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After Georgia, Republicans celebrating, Dems searching