Republican Handel Wins Georgia Special House Election, Here’s What You Need To Know
Image Credits: Curtis Compton / Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP
All eyes were on Georgia as the most expensive House race in history came to a close. Karen Handel (R) and Jon Ossoff (D) were battling in a special election to fill the House seat vacated by Tom Price, who now serves as the Secretary of Health and Human Resources. This was the follow up to the initial election that was held in mid-April of 2017. Since no candidate received a majority of the vote this run-off was held. In the end, Handel was victorious with 51% of the vote to Ossoff’s nearly 48%. The House seat stays red.
You may be asking yourself, who cares about one House seat in Georgia, especially one that has historically been held by Republicans and likely will continue to be? Well, the nation, apparently. This special election was touted across the country as a “referendum on Trump” since the historically red district went to Trump in 2016 by only two points. Essentially, people are using this as a predictor for the midterm elections coming up in 2018, where it is expected that Trump’s performance will greatly impact Republicans seeking re-election.
Another reason this special election garnered so much attention is the insane amount of money invested in the race. Nearly $50 million was spent in total. This makes it, without a doubt, the most expensive House race in history. Trust me, all that money wasn’t coming from grassroots voters within the state. Money was pouring in from all over the country from big names. Planned Parenthood donated a million dollars to the Democratic candidate, and both the President and Vice-President helped the Republican candidate fund raise.
Let’s take a look at the candidates.
Karen Handel is a businesswoman and the former Secretary of State of Georgia. She is 55 years old and a graduate of Prince George’s Community College. During her career, she turned a $100 million deficit into a balanced budget and implemented a photo ID law for voting. Outside of government, she worked for years in the private sector. Handel served in executive management positions with CIBA Vision and KPMG. She is married to her husband Steve and they have two dogs.
Jon Ossoff is a 30-year-old documentary filmmaker who graduated from Georgetown University and the London School of Economics. After college, he worked as a political aide and national security staffer for Hank Johnson, who serves Georgia’s 4th district. He has been called a moderate Democrat by many. One of the key points that Democrat Ossoff’s opponents kept bringing up during the campaign was that Ossoff was not even allowed to vote in the district he was running to represent.
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