Democrat Jon Ossoff will compete in a runoff in a traditionally Republican congressional district in suburban Atlanta, after falling just short of the majority threshold needed to win outright in a special election on Tuesday.
With 88% of precincts reporting, the 30-year-old had 48.3% of the vote. He willl face Republican opponent Karen Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, on 20 June, after Handel finished second in a chaotic 18-candidate field.
In a speech just before midnight, Ossoff painted his performance as a victory, saying: “We may not know the outcome for sometime but let me tell you this, there is no doubt that this is already a victory for the ages.”
In a midnight tweet, Donald Trump took a victory lap for Ossoff’s expected failure to win a majority of the vote. “Despite major outside money, FAKE media support and eleven Republican candidates, BIG “R” win with runoff in Georgia. Glad to be of help!” The campaign had attracted late attention from Trump, who tweeted six times about it in the 48 hours before polls closed, an unprecedented level of activity in a down-ballot race.