Republican Karen Handel’s projected victory over political upstart Jon Ossoff in Tuesday’s Georgia special election was immediately cast by the GOP as a devastating blow for Democrats.
As Handel delivered her victory speech in Atlanta, the National Republican Congressional Committee blasted out a memo crowing that Democrats “marshalled [sic] their resources and went all-in Georgia … and they failed.”
“After promising a revamped strategy that would deliver them a majority, House Democrats are no closer to that goal today than they were at the beginning of the new year,” said the memo, which claimed that Democrats had gone “0-5 in specials [sic] elections.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., echoed the NRCC when he said, “Democrats from coast to coast threw everything they had at this race, and Karen would not be defeated,” in his statement congratulating Handel on her victory.
The NRCC memo referred to races involving Republican-held seats that represented a chance at a Democratic pickup. The NRCC also counted the Georgia contest as two separate races, since Ossoff failed to garner enough support in the initial balloting to avoid Tuesday’s runoff.
Earlier this year, Republican House candidates held GOP seats in Kansas and Montana. In addition to Handel’s victory Tuesday, Republican Ralph Norman won a closer-than-expected race in South Carolina to succeed Mick Mulvaney, who resigned from Congress this past February to become Trump’s Office of Management and Budget director.
Democrats did hold one of their own seats in a California special election earlier this month, as Jimmy Gomez secured the seat vacated by Xavier Becerra, who resigned to become the state’s attorney general.
After Tuesday night’s results, Republicans hold 241 seats in the House of Representatives compared to 194 for the Democrats. Democrats must defend their current districts and win 24 GOP-held seats to regain a majority next November.
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