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Handel looks to unify voters after crucial Congressional win

23 June 2017

A special Georgia congressional election billed as a referendum on Trump's presidency was won by Republican Karen Handel by almost 3 points in a suburban Atlanta district over Democrat Jon Ossoff.

Speaking to a crowd of supporters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Wednesday night, Donald Trump made sure to praise the Republican victories, but taking multiple shots at the Democratic Party for allegedly being "obstructionists". "Obstruction doesn't work!", Trump wrote on Twitter.

That said, the Georgia House race was the first real potential evidence of a possible problem, since while Ossoff did much better than the Democratic House candidate in 2016, he did a bit worse than Hillary Clinton in that district, making it hard to assess what "should" happen there.

On the other hand, it's equally true that over the last 25 years, no Democrat has ever come close to seriously competing in this red district - formally represented by the likes of Newt Gingrich and Tom Price - and this special election was easily the closest contest Georgia's 6th has ever seen. In South Carolina's 5th District race, where Democrats spent only $250,000, Archie Parnell lost by an even narrower margin to Republican Ralph Norman.

While all of America had its eyes set on the special election in Georgia Tuesday, a race for a U.S. House seat in SC proved to be a surprisingly close result for the Democratic Party.

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She said the Democrats "gave them a run for their money in all of them".

The election was grueling, but Handel came out victorious.

"Tonight, the people of Georgia's sixth district overwhelmingly voted not only for Karen, but also for President Trump's agenda of replacing our broken health care system, reforming an outdated tax code, and prioritizing infrastructure investment", said Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

Democrats had been hoping to make inroads with many of those in the group termed reluctant Trump voters.

Georgia's 6th Congressional District has always been a Republican stronghold.

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"I think it's very concerning that that tactic still has some punch", Tim Ryan said of the challenges Ossoff faced, "It's part of the broader national brand that average people don't feel connected to the Democratic Party".

The victories could boost Republicans' confidence as they struggle to advance health and tax legislation that has been bogged down by infighting and investigations into whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation in last year's presidential election.

"The Democrats have to be hyper-focused on an economic message that tells people that the Republican Party is all about economic growth for millionaires and billionaires, and the Democratic Party is about economic growth for everybody", Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of CT told MSNBC.

Democrats are 0 for 4 in congressional elections this year, having earlier lost races in Kansas and Montana. Even among Democrats she has a 19 percent unfavorable rating.

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