Heading to a Runoff: Ossoff and Handel Advance in Georgia House Race

After a far closer than expected contest, the race to determine Georgia’s 6th Congressional District Representative is not yet over. Democrats hoped that Jon Ossoff would defeat a divided Republican field Tuesday night, and although he came close, it wasn’t enough to seal the deal.

Since Georgia’s 6th Congressional District elected current Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price by double digits in 2016, many thought a victory for Ossoff would demonstrate that public opinion was shifting against the Republican Party. Instead, Jon Ossoff finished with slightly over 48% of the vote, well ahead of his Republican opponents, but beneath the 50% required to win the election outright. Consequentially, he will face Republican Karen Handel, the second place finisher, in a June 20th runoff election.

This result will temporarily delay a media narrative of voters increasingly rejecting Republicans in Congress and the new administration. While a notable shift did occur in Kansas and Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, conservatives have attributed the later case to massive outside spending and the fact that Democrats mostly coalesced around one candidate while Republicans were more divided. In fact, six different Republicans received thousands of votes, while no Democrat except for Jon Ossoff even reached five hundred votes. On June 20th, Jon Ossoff will have one opponent.

Alexandra DeSanctis from the National Review reports that Karen Handel, former Georgia Secretary of State, has frequently promised not to be a yes-man for the president. This may be a wise decision as the district leans Republican and elected Tom Price by a much larger margin than Trump in 2016. The district also rejected Trump in the primaries.

While Republican candidates drew a slight majority of votes in this race, they will need to unite quickly to defeat Jon Ossoff.  Bob Gray, who finished third behind Handel and Ossoff, has now declared that he will support Handel.



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