In yet another loss in recent weeks, Democrats failed to capture the Georgia 6th district congressional seat last night. Despite near record big money spending on his behalf (95 percent from out of state), Jon Ossoff failed to clinch the election, taking 48.1 percent — just short of the 50 percent plus one he needed to avoid a runoff.
President Donald Trump had a perfect quip. “Dems failed in Kansas and are now failing in Georgia. Great job Karen Handel! It is now Hollywood vs. Georgia on June 20th,” Trump tweeted.
Dems failed in Kansas and are now failing in Georgia. Great job Karen Handel! It is now Hollywood vs. Georgia on June 20th.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 19, 2017
His “Hollywood vs. Georgia” comment was referring to the 95 percent of Ossoff’s over $8 million in fundraising from out of state, part of which was raised at a fundraiser with Nancy Pelosi in Washington, D.C. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) put 9 staffers on the ground in February, and had increased staff to 70 by the end of the campaign.
Besides his big money advantage, Ossoff also benefitted from the near perfect opportunity to flip a Republican House seat. The primary included five Democrats and a whopping eleven Republicans, and most of the Democratic establishment had swung firmly behind Ossoff. All he needed to do was win 50 percent of the vote plus one, and the seat was his. The divided Republicans gave him the perfect shot.
Now, he has to face a one-on-one race with former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel. Further adding to the “Hollywood vs. Georgia” narrative is the fact that Handel’s campaign announced that nearly 90 percent of its reported 831 individual donors are from Georgia.
Handel took 19.8 percent of the vote, despite being outspent by a nearly 20-to-1 margin. Her campaign announced raising $463,000, mere peanuts compared to Ossoff’s over $8 million.
Unlike Handel, Ossoff does not even live in the district, because he is living with his girlfriend of 12 years just outside it. This minor scandal which broke Tuesday has the potential to prove devastating, as opposition to Ossoff now has a natural opponent in Handel. (Expect ads along the lines of “if he can’t commit to his girlfriend after 12 years, how can he commit to Georgia’s 6th district?”)
— Lauren Devoll (@LaurenDevoll) April 18, 2017
The runoff will still be a close race — Ossoff nearly won 50 percent on Tuesday, after all. He only needs to gain 1.9 percent more. But this is still a red district, and now that Republicans have a candidate to get behind, they’re likely to unite against the Democrat. In all likelihood, Ossoff missed his shot on Tuesday, and he isn’t likely to do better in June.