Trump team takes victory lap after GOP special-election wins

President Trump and his supporters took a victory lap on social media late Tuesday night as Republicans secured a pair of special-election House victories in Georgia and South Carolina.

Trump began by thanking Fox News for declaring that Karen Handel’s victory over Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District was also a huge win for him.

A few minutes later, Trump congratulated Handel.

“Congratulations to Karen Handel on her big win in Georgia 6th,” the president tweeted. “Fantastic job, we are all very proud of you!”

The hotly contested race between Handel and Ossoff for the House seat that was vacated by Tom Price, Trump’s secretary of health and human services, was seen as an early signal for the 2018 midterm elections, and viewed by some as a referendum on the Trump administration. Georgia’s Sixth District has been occupied by Republicans since the 1970s, but Trump only narrowly won the district last year.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the combined spending for both candidates has pushed past $50 million — making it the most expensive House campaign in U.S. history.

The president had inserted himself into the race in recent weeks, making a last-minute pitch to voters on Twitter Tuesday while casting Ossoff as a “super Liberal Democrat” who “doesn’t even live in the district.”

“Thanks to everyone who breathlessly and snarkily proclaimed #GA06 as a ‘referendum on POTUS @realDonaldTrump,'” Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway tweeted. “You were right. #winning”

Conway added: “Laughing my #Ossoff.” (The Democrat’s supporters had urged their side to “Vote Your Ossoff.”)

House Speaker Paul Ryan welcomed Handel to Congress in a much more measured statement:


Congratulations to Karen Handel on a hard-earned and well-deserved victory. Democrats from coast to coast threw everything they had at this race, and Karen would not be defeated. The people of Georgia’s 6th Congressional District are the big winners tonight because they have elected a representative who is going to tirelessly fight for them and their interests.

Karen is all business. I’ve campaigned with her and I know how eager she is to get to work. 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.


In South Carolina’s under-the-radar race, former GOP state Rep. Ralph Norman beat Democrat Archie Parnell on Tuesday to grab the seat vacated by Rep. Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Handel and Norman’s wins, combined with previous GOP victories in previous special elections in Montana and Kansas, led Trump to tout a 5-0 record — the fifth win presumably being his. All of those races were in territory favorable to Republicans.

“Well, the Special Elections are over and those that want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN are 5 and O!” the president tweeted. “All the Fake News, all the money spent = 0.”

Trump’s tabulation overlooked newly minted Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., who won a race in overwhelmingly Democratic Los Angeles County this year.

The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., also chided Democrats for their defeats.

On Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted a similar message suggesting the special election losses should make Democrats work with Republicans on legislation rather than resist their agenda.

(Tile photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

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