open-seat

Meet the Man Behind the Ossoff Campaign — He’s Just Getting Started
Keenan Pontoni’s a rising star in a party desperate for fresh blood

Keenan Pontoni, campaign manager for Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s 6th District, conducts one final tele-town hall session in his Sandy Springs office on the final day of the runoff campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — Just 45 minutes after polls closed Tuesday in Georgia’s 6th District, Keenan Pontoni knew Jon Ossoff was in trouble.

The Democratic candidate’s advantage in early voting didn’t look like it was going to be enough to make up for Republican turnout on Election Day.

Will Georgia’s 6th District Do This All Again in 2018?
Closely watched district likely won’t be as competitive next year

Republican Karen Handel, seen here the day before the election, won the closely watched special election in Georgia’s 6th District on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — Despite initial relief among Georgia’s 6th District residents that the barrage of campaign ads has come to an end, the reprieve might not last too long.

“Now we know what New Hampshire looks like,” said Chip Lake, a GOP consultant based in Georgia.

11 Things I Think I Think After the Special Elections
Lessons from the Georgia and South Carolina races

Jon Ossoff supporters at the Georgia Democrat’s election night watch party are stunned as CNN calls the state’s 6th District race for Republican Karen Handel on Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One of the best parts about covering elections is that there is a final result. What seems like an endless stream of campaigning and ads and analysis finally comes to an end every time with vote tallies to digest until the next round.

President Donald Trump and the Republicans continue to play with electoral fire, but the GOP pulled off two more special election victories; this time in Georgia’s 6th District and South Carolina’s 5th District. As with the previous results in Kansas and Montana, there are enough tidbits in each result to formulate whatever conclusion helps you sleep better at night.

Karen Handel Proves Third Time’s the Charm
Georgia Republican heads to Congress after 2 losing bids for higher office

Karen Handel gives her victory speech to supporters in Atlanta on Tuesday, as her husband Steve Handel looks on. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Republican Karen Handel comes to Congress after a 28-year career with a diverse portfolio of public- and private-sector jobs ranging from overseeing elections as Georgia’s secretary of state to heading the Fulton County Board of Commissioners to serving as the vice president of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which supports breast cancer research.

Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff 52 percent to 48 percent in Tuesday’s 6th District special election runoff to replace former Rep. Tom Price, who vacated the seat to become secretary of Health and Human Services.

In Ralph Norman, Trump Gets a Strong Ally
Incoming South Carolina congressman gives president an A-plus

South Carolina Rep.-elect Ralph Norman won on his second attempt for the 5th District seat. (Courtesy Ralph Norman for Congress)

Republican Ralph Norman, a developer of hotels, shopping centers, and retail stores, won a House seat 11 years after his first unsuccessful bid for the same South Carolina seat in 2006.

In Tuesday’s 5th District special election to replace former Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who resigned from the House to become head of the Office of Management and Budget, Norman defeated Democrat Archie Parnell, a former Goldman Sachs executive and tax lawyer by an unexpectedly close 51 percent to 48 percent margin.

Karen Handel Keeps Georgia Seat in GOP Hands
Republican defeats Jon Ossoff in most expensive House election

Karen Handel is the first Republican woman elected to Congress from Georgia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans can breathe a sigh of relief with GOP nominee Karen Handel defeating Democrat Jon Ossoff in the special election in Georgia’s 6th District on Tuesday.

Handel carried 52 percent of the vote to Ossoff’s 48 percent with 100 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press. She becomes the first Republican woman to be elected to Congress from Georgia.

Republican Ralph Norman Wins Close Race in South Carolina
GOP winner likely to join House Freedom Caucus

Republican Ralph Norman won the special election in South Carolina’s 5th District (Simone Pathé/CQ Roll Call)

Republican Ralph Norman had a good birthday Tuesday night, winning the special election to fill South Carolina’s 5th District seat, albeit by a closer-than-expected margin.

Norman defeated Democrat Archie Parnell 51 percent to 48 percent, with 100 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press. 

Opinion: Jon Ossoff and the New Breed of Yellow Dog Democrats
How politics in a onetime Southern GOP stronghold have changed

By the kind of campaign he ran in Georgia’s 6th District, Jon Ossoff is emblematic of a New Southern Democrat, Murphy writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — It’s Election Day in Georgia, so this column goes to print before we know the outcome of the 6th District special election to replace Dr. Tom Price in Congress. But whether Karen Handel, the Republican, pulls off a win or Jon Ossoff, the Democrat, manages an upset, it is well-understood here that the politics of this once solidly Republican district have changed, almost overnight.

The fact that Ossoff became so competitive, so quickly in this race was almost entirely because of Donald Trump. Trump was certainly the reason Democratic activists across the country pumped $20 million into a district where the biggest tourist attraction is a giant red chicken in front of a vintage KFC. Trump was also the reason countless Ossoff volunteers told me they were working for him “because at least it is something I could do” after Trump won in November.

It’s Election Day in the Most Expensive House Race Ever
Both sides in Georgia special election working to turn out Tuesday vote

Jon Ossoff, Democratic candidate for Georgia’s 6th Congressional district, shakes hands with campaign workers and volunteers at his campaign office in Chamblee, Ga., on Sunday. Ossoff is facing off against Republican Karen Handel in the special election to fill the seat vacated by current HHS Secretary Tom Price on Tuesday. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — It’s finally here. Voters go to the polls Tuesday in the most expensive House race in the country. 

In the final hours of the special election campaign in Georgia’s 6th District, both Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff are sticking to a variation of the same talking point: “It’s all about turnout.” 

Race Rating: Virginia Governor Contest Still Leans Democratic
Primary results don’t change GOP nominee’s uphill battle

Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, right, seen here posing for a selfie with Gov. Terry McAuliffe at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia last year, remains the favorite in the commonwealth’s governor’s race this fall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While the margins, if not the outcomes, of Virginia’s gubernatorial primaries may have been a surprise, the long view of the race remains the same — Democrats are in position to hold the commonwealth’s governorship in November.

In the Republican primary, former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie defeated Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County board of supervisors, 44 percent to 43 percent. It was a closer-than-expected margin of victory for Gillespie, the 2014 Senate nominee, over Stewart, former state chairman for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.