Update: Formerly vitally important election with national implications that can’t be overstated now scheduled to be irrelevant by 10 am.
That was a humorous tweet from conservative commentator Mary Katherine Ham last night as Karen Handel, the Republican, rather easily beat Jon Ossoff, the Democrat, in the highly charged, most expensive House race in American history.
Handel won by about 6%, despite polls throughout the campaign showing Ossoff ahead in the special Georgia election.
This district had been held by Republican Tom Price, who left his seat to become secretary of HHS. Price won the seat last November by 23 points. Bruised Democrats are therefore claiming some kind of moral victory here.
Yet keep in mind that Trump won this district by a mere 1% while Price was running away with his election. That’s why Democrats were so keen on putting Ossoff in the House, thinking it would be a massive repudiation of Trump. It might have been, had it occurred, but there is a distinction that must be drawn between Trump and Republicans overall.
Personally, I don’t think Trump had anything to do with this victory, and if Handel had lost, I doubt that it would have been because of Trump.
What finally seemed to tip the election in her direction was the blatant attempt by Democrats to promote someone who didn’t even live in the district (yes, you read that right) and whose massive funding came from out of state—liberals nationwide contributed in the hope that they could embarrass Republicans, and Trump specifically.
Ossoff did his best to impersonate a moderate, but he is a rank-and-file progressive. Perhaps the impersonation didn’t resonate as well as he had hoped. Well, at least he can now continue to keep his residence outside the district with his live-in girlfriend. A bullet was dodged here.
Democrats are chagrined, of course. Republicans, though, would do well not to be too exuberant. The fact that this district was a possibility for a Democrat pickup, even with as poor a candidate as Ossoff, is a cautionary tale for congressional elections in 2018.
Republicans in Congress and the presumed Republican in the White House had better fulfill a few more promises if they hope to retain the majority.