Republicans Sweep All Four of Their Special Elections

Susan Jones | June 21, 2017 | 5:34am EDT
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Republican Karen Handel won the race Democrats portrayed as a referendum on Donald Trump and a possible harbinger of the 2018 midterms. (Screen grab from Fox News)

( - "High-Stakes Referendum on Trump Takes Shape in a Georgia Special Election," said the headline in The New York Times on June 18. "Republican Claims House Seat in Georgia," said the New York Times headline three days later.

The most expensive House race in history ended badly for Democrats and their politically inexperienced candidate, who no longer lived in the district he wanted to represent.

Republican Karen Handel easily defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in Tuesday's special election to replace Tom Price, who is now serving as Health and Human Services Secretary.

Handel received 134,595 votes, or 51.9 percent, to Ossoff's 124,893 votes, or 48.1 percent.

“Special thanks to the President of the United States of America,” Handel said in her victory speech. Her supporters reacted with cries of "Trump, Trump, Trump!"

As expected, a Republican also won Tuesday's special election in South Carolina to replace Rep. Mick Mulvaney, now President Trump's budget director. Republican Ralph Norman got 51.1 percent of the vote to Democrat Archie Parnell's 47.9 percent.

President Trump tweeted his congratulations to both Handel and Norman Tuesday night:

-- “Congratulations to Karen Handel on her big win in Georgia 6th. Fantastic job, we are all very proud of you!”

-- “Ralph Norman ran a fantastic race to win in the Great State of South Carolina's 5th District. We are all honored by your success tonight!”

And around midnight, Trump tweeted: “Well, the Special Elections are over and those that want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN are 5 and O! All the Fake News, all the money spent = 0.”

There have been five special congressional elections so far this year, and in the four races where Republicans ran against Democrats, Republicans have won all four. (In California, two Democrats vied for the House seat vacated by Xavier Becerra, so a Democrat win there was the only possible outcome.)

The Republican National Committee congratulated Handel, saying: "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voted not only for Karen, but also for President Trump’s agenda of replacing our broken healthcare system, reforming an outdated tax code, and prioritizing infrastructure investment. For the fourth time since November, voters have rejected the Democrat’s agenda of obstruction and made it clear it’s time get to work for the American people and join President Trump's administration in Making America Great Again.”

The Democrat National Committee, which pinned its hopes and many millions of dollars on flipping a Republican-majority district, was silent as of early Wednesday morning.

“Democrats Demoralized,” said an opinion piece in Wednesday’s New York Times: “Jon Ossoff’s defeat in Georgia will test the party’s spirit and its strategy,” Frank Bruni wrote.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) tweeted Tuesday night: “#Ossof Race better be a wake up call for Democrats - business as usual isn't working. Time to stop rehashing 2016 and talk about the future.”

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