Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Economy | By Annette Adams

Ossoff and Handel 'getting back to work' for June runoff

Republicans faced a sobering reminder of Donald Trump's unpopularity Wednesday after a young Democrat forced a run-off election in a conservative congressional district, highlighting the vulnerability of the president's party as opponents draw inspiration for fierce battles ahead.

With few other events on the political calendar, the race was billed as a referendum on President Trump's first few months in office. But there were numerous Republicans in the race, and in aggregate they secured 51 percent, compared to 49 percent for Democrats, a sign Ossoff has a challenge before him to flip the district.

"We are changing the world and your voices are going to ring out across this state and country", Ossoff told his supporters.

"Dems failed in Kansas and are now failing in Georgia", Trump tweeted, referring to last week's congressional race in a Wichita suburb where the Democrat fell short of an upset.

The close contest had prompted Mr Trump to take to Twitter to urge Republicans to vote.

Democrats, searching for answers at a time when they are shut out of power in Washington, found a unifying figure in Ossoff, a 30-year-old documentary filmmaker who campaigned on a promise to "Make Trump Furious". Ossoff now faces a June 20 runoff with Republican Karen Handel, former Georgia Secretary of State, who finished second in the all-parties primary.

However, winning the June 20 run-off election will be tougher for Mr Ossoff.

Ms Handel received a little over 19 per cent of the vote on Tuesday. He has also mobilized strong opposition against President Trump. Democrats have a long-shot chance of taking back control of the House next year and breaking the GOP's monopoly control of Washington. "No, they lost!" Spicer said.

The election was for the seat vacated by Republican Tom Price - who won with almost 62 per cent of the vote a year ago - after United States President Donald Trump appointed him Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Handel does need the president's backing, Bullock said. Through phone, email contacts, and social media, National Right to Life Victory Fund reached out to identified pro-life households in the district encouraging them to vote against Jon Ossoff, who supports a policy of abortion on demand, and supports using tax dollars to pay for abortion.

The Democrats "were clear going into this election", White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.

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