Special Election Tally: Dems Win 1; GOP Wins 2; Two More Tomorrow, Including Georgia

By Susan Jones | June 19, 2017 | 11:16 AM EDT

Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff take to the debate stage in Georgia on June 6, 2017. The race for Georgia's vacant congressional seat is believed to be the most expensive in history. A second special House election is taking place on the same day in S.C. (Screen grab from YouTube)

(CNSNews.com) - Have you heard about tomorrow’s special election to fill a vacant House seat?

Not the one in Georgia, which the New York Times has dubbed “the most expensive House race in history.”

There’s another election Tuesday in South Carolina, to replace former Rep. Mick Mulvaney, a Republican who is now serving as President Trump’s budget director.

In that South Carolina race, largely neglected by the media and national Democrats, Republican Ralph Norman is running against Democrat Archie Parnell, in the heavily Republican 5th congressional district, where 39,270 people voted in the Republican primary, compared with 18,709 who voted in the Democrat primary.

Few if any people are casting the South Carolina race as a referendum on Trump’s presidency; Trump won the district easily in 2016.

But it’s a different story in Georgia, where political neophyte Jon Ossoff, a Democrat, is running against Republican Karen Handel for the seat vacated by Rep. Tom Price when he became Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Democrats have invested a great deal of time, money and staff to flip the seat that Republicans have held for the past 37 years. Those Republicans include former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Although Ossoff doesn’t describe his campaign as a referendum on the Trump presidency, others see national implications for the 2018 midterm election.

Democrats are counting on an Ossoff victory to send a message to Trump, to Washington and the national electorate at large.

Those same Democrats were disappointed in April, when Ossoff failed to win Georgia’s special election outright because he did not get 50 percent of the vote. That forced him into a June 20 runoff with Handel, the top Republican vote-getter.

There are a total of seven special elections this year to fill six vacant House seats and one vacant Senate seat; and of the three that have taken place already, Republicans have won two.

In Montana on May 25, Greg Gianforte, a Republican who was charged with assaulting a reporter the night before the election, nevertheless won the seat vacated by Rep. Ryan Zinke, who is now President Trump’s Interior Secretary.

In Kansas on April 11, Republican Ron Estes won the special election to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Mike Pompeo, who is now the CIA director.

The Democrats can claim one special election victory so far: On June 6, Democrat Jimmy Gomez won the race to fill the seat vacated by Democrat Rep. Xavier Becerra, who is now California’s Attorney General.

But the race that matters most to Democrats takes place tomorrow in Georgia.

The Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee says it has spent more than $6 million “to fundamentally transform a traditionally Republican electorate, turn out low-propensity voters, channel the unprecedented grassroots energy, and communicate with swing voters.”

Tom Perez, chairman of the national Democrat Party, sent an email after Georgia’s April election ended inconclusively, writing: "If we go all-in and elect Jon, we'll turn Georgia's 6th district blue for the first time in 38 years and send a big, loud message to Donald and the Republicans who are backing him that Democrats are fired up and ready to fight."

Politico reported on Sunday that the Georgia race is “too close to call.”

Aside from the special elections in Kansas, Montana, California, Georgia and South Carolina, Utah will hold a special election on Nov. 7 to replace the retiring Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz; and there will be a special Senate election on Dec. 12 in Alabama to replace Jeff Sessions, now the attorney general.

As CNSNews.com reported in April, Ossoff cannot even vote for himself, because he does not currently live in the congressional district he wants to represent.

Also See:
Georgia Race Goes to Runoff: 97,937 Votes for 11 Republicans; 93,911 Votes for 5 Democrats