The Special Election in Georgia Is Heading to a Runoff

But it was so close.

Miguel Juarez Lugo/ZUMA Wire

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Democrat Jon Ossoff came up just short of an outright victory in Tuesday’s special election for the Georgia congressional seat vacated by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. Instead, after finishing a few points shy of the 50 percent threshold in a 20-candidate field, he’ll face off against Republican Karen Handel on June 20.

The race was the third special congressional election since November, but the first in a district considered even remotely competitive. Although the 6th District was considered safely Republican for decades and Price never faced serious opposition, Hillary Clinton nearly won the district in November. Ossoff raised more than $10 million—more in a single quarter than a House candidate in history—and turned the race into a magnet for anti-Trump activism, even as the candidates in the race stayed largely quiet on the subject.

Special elections are screwy barometers of the national mood, which is unfortunate because their isolation makes it much more likely they’ll be interpreted as such. Democrats won their first seven special elections of the Obama era ahead of the disastrous 2010 wave, including in a pair of soon-to-be red seats in upstate New York. Moral victories are lame, but for a party that’s aiming to expand its map in 2018 and make Georgia competitive statewide sooner rather than later, there are greater tragedies than having to spend another month organizing the 6th District.

In the meantime, we’ll have another special election to fixate on. Montanans will pick the successor to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on May 25. Hold onto your butts.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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