Republican Karen Handel wins congressional race in Georgia

With 81 percent of precincts reporting, Handel was declared the victor with 52.5 percent of the vote, compared to Ossoff's 47.5 percent, according to the Associated Press.

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Ms Handel also pointed to the district's pedigree throughout the campaign, urging Republicans not to let Democrats "steal" a seat that became a proxy for the national dynamics in Washington. "They spent the most $ EVER and LOST", Donald Trump Jr. said in one of many tweets throughout the night. "We may have different beliefs, but we are part of one community, the community of the 6th District".

The controversial proposal, which Handel said she would have voted for, would "gut the protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions - hundreds of thousands of them", Ossoff argued at a debate earlier this month.

"Let's be a party of big economic ideas for those with stagnant wages - who seek new industry, fear monopoly, & want good jobs for their kids", said Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), a freshmen elected in 2016.

Winning in this once-safe GOP district would follow House special election victories this year in GOP-held districts in Kansas and Montana.

Incomplete returns show Ms Handel winning nearly 53% of the vote over Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia's 6th Congressional District.

Indeed the best news Democrats got Tuesday night was that a different special House race, in SC, ended up closer than the Georgia contest even though it had drawn little national attention.

Meanwhile, the president himself congratulated Handel on her victory and thanked Fox News for describing the win as a "huge win for President Trump and [the] GOP".

"I think it's a personal race", said Ware, 63, an attorney. He added that 6th District Republicans united against a Democratic candidate many saw as a tool of his national party leaders.

But an Ossoff victory would help Democrats raise money and recruit candidates as they try to win back control of the House of Representatives in 2018.

As the most expensive House race in history, at $50 million, a win for either party was important for morale.

Democrats had held the SC seat for more than a century until Mulvaney rode a tea party wave to defeat longtime incumbent John Spratt in 2010. Handel did receive more support from outside groups ($18.2 million supporting her or attacking Ossoff) than Ossoff did (just under $8 million supporting him or attacking Handel).

The special congressional election in Georgia on Tuesday that was supposed to be tight wasn't.

The affluent and well-educated Georgia 6th District has elected Newt Gingrich, the former speaker; Johnny Isakson, now Georgia's senior USA senator; and most recently Tom Price, who resigned in February to join the administration. There have also been reports of campaigns being fueled with a rush of donors. She rarely mentioned him, despite holding a closed-door fundraiser with him earlier this spring.

Only the mainstream media treated the special election in the reliably Republican district as a hotly contested race that could go either way.

The election, which polls consistently suggested Handel was going to lose, was dubbed by Democrats and many on the left as a referendum on Donald Trump's presidency.