Georgia 6th: What they are saying about Handel's win

The latest GOP victor is Karen Handel, who won about 52 percent of the vote in Georgia's 6th Congressional District to quell the upstart phenomenon of Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old Democrat who raised more than $23 million and became a symbol of opposition to President Donald Trump.

"I don't think that very many Republicans will take much comfort on the health care issue even if Handel does win", said veteran Democratic pollster Geoff Garin in advance of Tuesday's result.

"There are more of us than we thought", said Tricia Gephardt, an Ossoff volunteer. "Personally I think it's time for a new generation of leadership in the party".

South Carolina Democrats are seeking the same silver lining after Archie Parnell lost a congressional special election there Tuesday night by essentially the same margin as Ossoff.

Ossoff had raised roughly $23 million and spent about $22 million as of the most recently available campaign finance reports. "Karen was able to pull Republicans back together", said Jim Phillips, a 69-year-old retiree from Marietta who has volunteered on several Handel campaigns.

In South Carolina, the GOP similarly took pains to link Parnell and Pelosi - even as Parnell campaigned with Tim Ryan, the OH congressman who challenged Pelosi for minority leadership in November.

Handel pushed back forcefully, pointing out that her sister was born without an esophagus - a pre-existing condition.

The Tuesday special elections once again showed how Republican voters typically "come home", as some political observers put it. But now, after a string of disappointments, those divisions have re-emerged, though Pelosi appears unlikely to face an immediate challenge.

In 2009, the first year of Barack Obama's presidency, there were five congressional special elections, including one in a red district in upstate NY, and Democratic candidates won all five. Republicans hammered Ossoff in Georgia with ads labeling him the "hand-picked" candidate of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Not to mention that with $50 million poured into the Georgia race, Handel garnered publicity beyond what any congressional candidates will be able to boast come 2018. "And I'm not sure that that's there yet. I'm excited to have her as a partner in the House of Representatives, and I look forward to working with her as we tackle our country's most pressing problems". Debbie Dingell of MI.

The former Georgia secretary of state was quick to embrace her party's leader after mostly avoiding him - at least publicly - during a protracted campaign. "We need a genuinely new message, a serious jobs plan that reaches all Americans, and a bigger tent".

"We had good candidates but they just couldn't overcome our national brand, which is toxic and damaged", Ryan told The Post, adding that Pelosi would make it "a lot more challenging" for Democrats to flip the House in 2018 if she remains at the helm. "Why? Because there's a lot of people who make money, the advertisers, the stations...news stations, television stations, whatever".

Addressing a crush of cameras and supporters who spilled out of a hotel ballroom, Ossoff tried to strike a hopeful note as he conceded defeat. That includes 24 seats Republicans won in November that Hillary Clinton also won.

In this March 28, 2017 photo, House Ways and Means Committee member Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J. speaks during a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington. "Nor did we need to", said Corry Bliss, the super PAC's director. "A loss is a loss is a loss and there's no excuses".

Goldberg said she did not see the election's outcome as a "loss", but rather as "slow progress".

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