In the most expensive House race ever with over $50 million having been spent on both sides, the Republicans and Karen Handel prevailed in the runoff yesterday. Jon Ossoff received the same exact percentage of the vote in both the election and the runoff with 48.1%.
Karen Handel (R) shocked the polls with her 4 point victory over Jon Ossoff (D). While a 4 percentage point defeat does not seem like much of a difference, the final polls showed Ossoff leading by roughly 1 point. Furthermore, Trump won this district by about a point, so Republicans gained some ground in Georgia’s 6th District.
The major difference between the two campaigns was the early voting push. In the first election, Ossoff dominated, and it seemed he might have been able to win outright (receiving more than 50% of the votes), but as the election day results came in his lead dwindled. Now, fast forward to yesterday’s runoff where Handel and her campaign reaped the benefits of investing heavily in early voting turnout, which is normally a Democrat strength. She only lost early voting by a mere 6 percent and made that deficit up on election day.
While this Georgia 6 special election received all the coverage, there was another House seat up for grabs last night in South Carolina 5 (Frank Underwood’s home district from House of Cards). Republicans also won this district by about 4 points in this election, but Democrats made up tremendous ground since the polls consistently showed the Republicans winning by a margin of about 15 points.
Overall, yesterday was a great day for Republicans as they won both House seats up for contention. I hope the Georgia 6 special election will be a wake-up call to the Democratic Party so they will become a progressive party and not continue their old (and losing) ways.