(CNSNews.com) - The White House said Wednesday that the Democrats “came up short” in Georgia’s special election to fill the congressional seat vacated by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, calling it “a big loss for them.”
There were five Democrats in the race, but they backed Jon Ossoff - the 30-year-old U.S. congressional candidate who couldn’t even vote for himself on Tuesday - pouring more than $8 million into his campaign.
Ossoff got 48.1 percent of the votes - the most out of the rest of the 18 candidates - but since none of the other 18 candidates received 50 percent of the votes, he’ll face Republican Karen Handel -who received 19.8 percent of the votes - in the June 20 run-off election.
The 11 Republicans altogether received 4,026 more votes than the five Democrats running for the seat.
The Democrats “were clear going into this election,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said. “They said that their goal was to get over 50 percent. They came up short, and if you look at what -- his percentage of what it was presidentially, it pretty much tracks.
“I think this was a big loss for them. The bottom line is they went all in on it. They said that their goal was to get over 50 percent. They came up short,” Spicer said.
“First of all, Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District -- the fact that Jon Ossoff pulled in five or six points more than most Republicans thought that he would have, and Lindsey Graham said this is a wakeup call to the Republican Party, that there’s a lot of moderates that need to emerge in the South to a greater degree that the Republican Party needs to pay attention to,” a reporter said.
“I don't imagine that the outcome of the runoff is in that much question, but does Senator Graham have something there, that the Republican Party needs to pay attention to changing demographics, particularly in the South?” the reporter asked.
“I think you know that, based on my former position, we talked about changing demographics throughout the country and made significant headway in doing that. I think in large part, that's why we won,” Spicer said. “We've been talking about how the Republican Party had won in so many different levels of our country, but the presidency had eluded us.
“This president won, got 306 electoral votes, won 30 of 50 states, over 2,600 counties. I think we did pretty well in November, and we continue to pick up seats around the country at different levels, so I feel very confident about the state of the party,” he said.
When asked whether Spicer was concerned that “Ossoff came so close to 50 percent,” Spicer said, “Well, again, I would -- just looking at the facts, there was one candidate on the Democratic side. They spent over $8 million --”
“There was five,” the reporter interjected.
“One that they backed, Spicer said, “and I think when you look at the total Republican vote, it was over that. This is a district that was very close on the presidential level last cycle, and the Democrats went all in on this.
“They were clear going into this election. They said that their goal was to get over 50 percent. They came up short, and if you look at what -- his percentage of what it was presidentially, it pretty much tracks. I think this was a big loss for them. The bottom line is they went all in on it. They said that their goal was to get over 50 percent. They came up short,” he said.