Republican Karen Handel won the special congressional election in Georgia on Tuesday, fending off a challenge from Democrat Jon Ossoff in the heavily Republican House district. If anti-Trump sentiment is going to work in Democrats' favor, they should have seen a better result in Georgia.
Democrats have had four opportunities to pick up seats in the U.S. House of Representatives since Donald Trump became president, and haven't been able to capitalize on any of them. Georgia's seat was vacated by Republican Tom Price before he took a job in the Trump administration as Secretary Health and Human Services.
Meanwhile, in a little watched House election in South Carolina, Republican Ralph Normal defeated Democrat Archie Parnell. Ossoff's loss is the latest in a string of Democratic losses in all three other special congressional elections that have taken place this year. The fact that that level of investment failed to pay off with a win against a Republican candidate widely viewed as uninspiring left Democrats frustrated and dispirited heading into the 2018 midterm elections. "All the Fake News, all the money spent (equals) 0".
Democrats came close but still lost in special elections in Kansas, Montana, Georgia and SC. The harmful consequences of Trump's policies predicted by Democrats have not begun to affect voters.
Protestations aside, Handel often embraced the national tenor of the race, joining a GOP chorus that lambasted Ossoff as a "dangerous liberal" who was "hand-picked" by House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California.
"The Democrats have to be hyper-focused on an economic message that tells people that the Republican Party is all about economic growth for millionaires and billionaires, and the Democratic Party is about economic growth for everybody", Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of CT told MSNBC. "She has been a great leader, but like every leader, time immemorial, it's time for people to know when to go", Rice said.
"The brand is just bad", the OH lawmaker told CNN's Don Lemon Wednesday.
To note the significance, Handel also shared a story from the campaign trail of meeting a young girl who the Congresswoman-elect said had been following the race.
"It would be a lovely, attractive thing, if we could get together as two parties for our country", Mr. Trump said.
The Republican ended up taking home 52 percent of the vote.
Handel devoted much of her speech to thanking national and state Republicans for backing her campaign before making a direct appeal to Ossoff's supporters. And in the Senate, Republicans have been working on a bill to partner the House's replacement plan largely in secret-without input from a large swath of members of both parties.