The special election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District still gives Democrats hope as an early referendum on President Donald Trump, though their favored candidate failed to get more than 50 percent of the votes in Tuesday's "jungle primary" and win outright with 11 Republicans, five Democrats, and two independents on the ballot.
A win by Jon Ossoff, a Democrat making his first attempt at an elected office in fairly conservative Atlanta suburbs, might have turned the tide for the party following Trump’s triumph in November.
But now Ossoff, who took 48 percent of the vote on Tuesday, will face Republican Karen Handel in a June 20 runoff. The former Georgia Secretary of State came in second with 20 percent.
The seat was left vacant by Tom Price, who became Health and Human Services director under Trump, and has been held by a Republican since 1979.
Here are six ways the Georgia special election runoff could affect the 2018 midterm elections:
1. Sketchy scapegoat factor – Using Trump as a scapegoat may not work as an advantage for Democrats in such Republican stronghold districts, the National Review pointed out. The jury is still out when it comes to more competitive areas.
2. Trump will get involved – The new president made himself an issue in the primary, CNN noted, and now GOP supporters are sighing in relief that he helped make a run-off necessary because it greatly improves the odds for Handel.
3. Republicans keep momentum – A two-candidate race between Ossoff and Handel improves the Republicans’ chances of winning in June, according to NPR, and that win could create momentum for them as they enter the 2018 midterms. After a special election win in Kansas, Republicans still have a clear shot at holding on to their majority in the House.
4. Democrats losing steam – Ossoff had high hopes going into Tuesday’s primary and Democrats had hoped an outright victory would kick off an anti-Trump movement nationwide. Obviously, winning in the June runoff is now more difficult.
5. Democrats still competitive – Tuesday's results may reveal a more competitive environment for Democrats, according to FiveThirtyEight. Ossoff’s 48 percent of the vote in such a conservative district may signify that Republicans could lose many of the seats they gained in the 2016 election.
6. Slimmer vote margins – Polls suggest that Handel would win against Ossoff in June by less than a point, said FiveThirtyEight. That could cast doubts about Republican strength in the coming midterms.
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