Democrat Jon Ossoff was the top candidate in an all-party House special election in Georgia on Tuesday night, but failed to gain more than 50% of the vote, which means a runoff election will be held in June.
As of early Wednesday morning, Ossoff had 48.6% of the vote, with about two-thirds of precincts reporting, according to The Wall Street Journal. CNN called the race just after midnight, projecting that Ossoff will miss the 50% needed to win outright, after technical problems delayed the count late in the night.
Ossoff is now likely to go up against the second-placed candidate, Georgia’s Republican former secretary of state Karen Handel, in the runoff on June 20.
Some Democrats viewed the race as a referendum on President Donald Trump, and had hoped that an anti-Trump backlash would help them win the seat outright and build momentum to take back the House in 2018. Republicans have held Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, in Atlanta’s conservative suburbs, for decades, but Trump won the district by less than 2% in November.
The special election was held to fill the seat of former Rep. Tom Price, who was named Trump’s secretary of health and human services.
The Democratic establishment poured millions of dollars into the race as they rallied around the 30-year-old Ossoff, who faced 17 candidates in the open election. But while Ossoff will apparently handily win Tuesday’s race, Democrats worry splintered Republicans will unify in time for the June election, and keep the seat in Republican hands.
President Donald Trump weighed in on the race Tuesday in a series of tweets, saying Ossoff would be “a disaster” and noting that he doesn’t even live in the district.
Earlier Tuesday, Ossoff acknowledged living outside the district, saying he lives nearby with his girlfriend, who is attending medical school. Ossoff said he grew up inside the district and if he won, he would move back inside its borders.
This is a huge win for the GOP, and President Trump. The Democrats have poured MILLIONS into this election, and brought out Hollywood actors to influence this election. It appears the GOP is positioned to win the runoff in June; this is an election that's worth keeping an eye on folks. #MAGA