Republicans win congressional seats in Georgia and South Carolina

ANGELOS BERBERAKIS
ISTANBUL
Published 22.06.2017 01:29

The Georgia 6th Congressional District special election was called after former representative Tom Price was sworn in as President Donald Trump's Health and Human Services Secretary.

Even though Trump won the reliably red state in the 2016 presidential election, he did so by just 1 percent, as opposed to former Republican candidate Mitt Romney, who claimed the state with a 26-point lead.

Nevertheless, Karen Handel managed to garner 53 percent of the vote to beat her opponent, the Democrat Jon Ossoff, showing that the polls, much like in the presidential election, were off, and that money and enthusiasm did not translate to votes for the Democrats.

From the tens of millions dollars, about 97 percent of the money came from outside Georgia.

Ossoff is a 30-year-old political novice who tried to run on a "change" platform and accused his opponent of being a career politician, despite the fact that he holds fiscally conservative ideas. He was also mocked in Georgia and called a "carpet bagger" for not having enough roots in the southern state.

Each side poured in millions of dollars in support of their respective candidates. However, what is interesting is the fact that Ossof's donations came from 7,000 Californians and only about 800 Georgians. Satirists have called out the irony of the similarities between this election "meddling" from "another state" with the alleged Russian collusion allegations regarding the presidential campaigns.

Because Trump's victory was not overwhelming in Georgia, Democrats were hoping to convert the red state to blue and have a better chance at convincing anti-Trump Republicans to vote Democrat in the 2018 midterm elections, during which all 435 seats of the House of Representatives, including 33 or 34 seats of the Senate will be contested.

A lot of anti-Trump obstructionism is already in play, mostly by Democrats but also by Republicans, so if the GOP does lose its much-needed majorities, then Trump's administration will face even more difficulties in pushing through its policies.

So for the White House, this was a victory because Handel does want to repeal and replace Obamacare and does want to build a wall on the southern border, and now they have another one of their own in the House of Representatives. It's also a victory because it was viewed as a sort of ‘referendum' on the president by many voters since numbers on his popularity have been going up and down over the past few months, with polls showing figures as low as 30 percent and as high as 50 percent.

President Trump had endorsed Handel and after her victory congratulated her, saying she had done a "fantastic job." He also called on Democrats to cooperate with him, saying "Democrats would do much better as a party if they got together with Republicans on Healthcare, Tax Cuts, Security. Obstruction doesn't work!"

Georgia wasn't the only state to hold special elections this week as Republican Ralph Norman beat Democrat Archi Parnell with 51.1 percent of the vote in South Carolina, 5th Congressional District. Mick Mulvaney, the Republican predecessor to Norman, left his seat in order to become the president's budget director.

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