Georgia House race, seen as Trump referendum, heads to a runoff


Democrat Jon Ossoff did better than expected but was unable to clear 50% and win the special election in Georgia last night. A runoff between Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel will be held on June 20. Georgia’s 6th District is a Republican-leaning district, but Democrat Ossoff did so well that the June 20th runoff is considered a Toss Up.

Democrat Jon Ossoff fell shy of a major blowout Tuesday night in a special election in a solidly Republican Georgia congressional district, a race the entire country was watching to gauge the strength of a gathering resistance to President Trump.

Ossoff received 48.1% of the vote. Though Ossoff needed to clear 50% to prevent a June runoff, his near miss should send up flares to congressional Republicans. In November, Republican Tom Price, who held the seat before becoming Trump’s Health and Human Service secretary, comfortably won re-election by a 24-point margin. Ossoff will face Republican Karen Handel, who placed second, in a June 20 runoff.

“Just the fact that Ossoff is getting this close and has a chance (in June) tells you there’s been a significant swing,” said Alan Abramowitz, an Emory University political science professor. “That tells us Trump’s unpopularity is hurting other Republican candidates and has the potential to hurt other Republicans in the midterms,” he said.

Photo credit: Joseph Sohm/