Special Election Tuesday: South Carolina and Georgia Live Results
Aric Kirsten: With over 23 million dollars donated to the democratic cause, Jon Ossoff was not able to overcome republican congressional candidate Karen Handel, who won the Georgia special election with 52.6 percent of the votes, compared to Ossoff’s 47.4 percent. Handel wins with a 5 point margin, and nearly 14,000 votes, furthering the abysmal democratic strategy of late. In South Carolina, a similar scene showed republican Ralph Norman defeated democratic candidate Archie Parnell by nearly 4 points. Democrats are now 0-4 in congressional races since President Trump took office, their major donations have failed to produce results. As republicans keep winning, there is hope the mainstream media changes some of its rhetoric to include the fact that conservative voters will continue to show up on election nights.
Eric Lendrum: First off, obviously, this was a very good night for Republicans as they managed to hold both seats, even as polling projected a tight race and possible loss in GA-06. This shatters the Democrats’ hopes that this election could be a referendum on the first five months of Trump’s presidency, as they hoped this would boost their numbers in both races. This seems to indicate that their current strategy of simply running an anti-Trump campaign might not be enough to win elections in individual Congressional districts.
But most importantly, it is important to note that the two races were completely reversed in terms of actual outcome vs. polling and experts’ expectations. Whereas Karen Handel won a more decisive victory in Georgia - currently up by over 5% as of the time of this writing - Ralph Norman won a much closer victory of just over 3% in Frank Underwood’s district in South Carolina.
This could very well indicate that the increased focus - and indeed, sensationalism - of the Georgia race only motivated Republican voters even more, as evident by the fact that Handel absolutely crushed Ossoff in in-person votes on the day of the election; she beat him by over 16,000 votes in that category, compared to Ossoff’s modest lead of a little over 5,000 in early, mail-in ballots (again, as of the time of this writing). Perhaps, only by decreasing focus on certain races, could they have a better chance? But of course, such a strategy of de-emphasizing certain races is unheard of in the realm of political strategy, and the Democrats are certainly not likely to take that road.
Lastly, this proves that money can’t always buy elections. As was widely noted, this was the single most expensive House race in U.S. history, with the Democrats spending $24 million on this run. Obviously, they will not be able to spend nearly as much money on most - if any - of the races on the day of the 2018 midterms, lest they risk losing more money on seats they already are unlikely to win.
he Democrats overplayed their hand here, hoping that the district’s alleged abundance of Republicans who are skeptical of President Trump would work to their advantage. It didn’t. Now granted, they were at a clear disadvantage with the district’s voter registration favoring Republicans, as well as the fact that their candidate was an inexperienced individual who doesn’t even live in the district - I can tell you from personal experience that voters, especially in Republican districts, HATE carpetbaggers favored by the elite like Ossoff. So while some of these factors may not be at play in a number of other competitive districts in 2018, this is still a resounding rebuke of the Democrats’ hyper-partisan campaign strategy up to this point.
The Democrats can do one of two things at this point: Either take a deep, introspective look and evaluate their own strategy in order to change it, like the Republicans did after Mitt Romney’s shocking loss in 2012; or they can triple down in the hopes that this race was simply a fluke. Recent trends seem to indicate the latter, but only time will tell.
5:08:20: Additional results from DeKalb County have now given Ossoff a narrow lead of 1.4% over Handel. The NYT still projects Handel as the likeliest to win based on in-person voting expectations.
8:14PM: Valk, GA-6: Ossoff currently leading with less than 1% of results in by 1.3 percentage points. Heavily democratic Dekalb County has started reporting.
5:22:35: With 9% of precincts reporting, FiveThirtyEight reports that Handel narrowly leads by .08%.
8:31PM: Valk, GA-6: Current predictions by the New York Times suggest Handel’s lead will be about a 1% margin. With 4% of precincts reporting, mostly coming from Fulton County so far, there is much more counting to go before we can be for certain.
5:39:45: With 19% of precincts reporting, Karen Handel narrowly leads Jon Ossoff by 1.6%.
5:50:09: The New York Times’ estimate projects a 1.2% margin of victory for Handel. Their range of possible outcomes continues to shrink for Ossoff, with his maximum potential margin of victory being 4.3%, while Handel’s maximum potential margin is 7%.
:13PM: Valk, GA-6: With 39% of precincts reporting, Karen Handel is leading Jon Ossoff by over 3%. New York Times is reporting that Handel will probably be over 2.5% ahead of Ossoff by the end of the night.
6:11:33: FiveThirtyEight reports that Handel has gained a substantial lead over Ossoff by 5.2%, with 50% of precincts reporting.
9:13 PM: Kirsten, NBC reports Handel speaks before supporters and media: flaunting her ‘I voted’ sticker and declaring “Jon Ossoff can't do that.” Handel’s claim comes in light of controversy surrounding Ossoff’s out of district residency.
6:35:11: The New York Times reports that, while Ossoff beat Handel in early votes by about 1,500 votes, Handel handily defeated Ossoff in in-person votes by almost 11,000.
6:47:03: With 73% of precincts reporting in according to FiveThirtyEight, Handel’s lead has extended to 6.8%, nearly 14,000 votes.
10:05PM: Valk, GA-6: With 81% of precincts reporting, Handel’s lead is up to 5% above Ossoff. This looks to be a very good night for Republicans in the district.
7:17:39: CNN has called the race for Karen Handel.
South Carolina’s 5th
5:23:36: In South Carolina’s 5th congressional district, Democratic nominee Archie Parnell held a very narrow lead with less than 1% reporting in. However, with 53% of precincts now reporting in according to FiveThirtyEight, Republican Ralph Norman - who led all opinion polls going into the election - holds a comfortable lead of 3.5%.
:42:10: With 72% of precincts reporting in, Norman leads by just 2 points.
5:53:15: With 78% of precincts reporting, Norman has increased his lead to 3 points.
6:08:58: With 93% reporting, Norman’s lead has decreased slightly to 2.6%.
6:14:00: FiveThirtyEight has called the race for Ralph Norman, the Republican nominee.
9:25PM, Kirsten, FiveThirtyEight reports the victory for R- Norman with 51.2 percent of the votes, compared to D- Parnell’s 47.8 percent.