President Trump tweeted congratulations to former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel for managing to claw her way into a runoff.
The special election - sort of a bye-election - was held to replace the congressional district's last incumbent Tom Price who vacated the seat when he joined Trump's team as his secretary for health and human services. Republicans had to spend millions of dollars to keep Ossoff from an outright win in spite of a crowded field that made it hard for anyone to come close to 50%. Ossoff will have to face Republican candidate Karen Handel in a runoff election in June.
The victor in Georgia will succeed Republican Tom Price, who resigned to join Trump's administration as health secretary.
A shock upset in the national spotlight, the argument goes, would deeply embarrass the president and could jumpstart efforts to retake control of the House of Representatives in next year's midterm elections. "Glad to be of help!" he tweeted.
In a further bad sign of Trump's unpopularity in the district, the ultra-wealthy Republican who closely aligned himself with the president, Bob Gray, performed below his polling average leading into the election.
Democrats, meanwhile, saw Handel - whose 55th birthday was Tuesday - as the Republican against whom they would fare the best, in part because of her conservative stances on social issues and attacks on Planned Parenthood. As stated here before, it will come down to turnout - turnout during spring vacations for a special election runoff, not the recipe for high turnout. She says it proliferated since Trump's victory, with several members acting as precinct captains for Ossoff.
But then Ossoff started raising money with help from liberal groups, raking in an astonishing $8.3 million, with only a small amount coming from within Georgia.
"We defied the odds, shattered expectations, and now are ready to fight on and win in June", he said.
It appears that Ossoff's final vote tally will be as drastic an improvement over previous Democratic congressional candidate similar as that seen by the Democratic candidate in last week's special election in Kansas. Trump congratulated the GOP candidate for "easily winning the Congressional race against the Dems, who spent heavily & predicted victory!"
Handel treated Trump gingerly throughout the campaign in a district he barely won in November.
Democrats are on the precipice of turning a former GOP stronghold into their first major victory of the Donald Trump era, a win that would deliver a huge morale boost to the party when it needed it most.
It has many well-educated voters who are reliably Republican but frustrated by Trump.
"Jon Ossoff is in a strong position to become the first Democrat to represent the Georgia 6in almost 40 years".
As Trump carried out his Twitter barrage against Ossoff earlier Tuesday, a White House spokeswoman insisted the race wasn't a "referendum" on the president.
"I think it's pretty clear", nonpartisan elections analyst Stuart Rothenberg said earlier this month, "Republicans in this kind of district are uncomfortable with Donald Trump".