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Democrats are celebrating a “moral victory.” Yeah. That and five bucks will get you a cup of coffee. John Ossoff, who doesn’t even live in Georgia’s Sixth House District, got more votes than anyone else. After pouring over $8 million of outsider money into the run. Against eleven (count ‘em, 11) Republicans.

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The New York Times gave Democrats encouraging words.

Jon Ossoff, a Democrat making his first bid for elective office, narrowly missed winning a heavily conservative House district in Georgia outright on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. It threw a scare into Republicans in a special congressional election that was seen as an early referendum on President Trump.

Mr. Ossoff received 48.1 percent of the vote, just short of the 50 percent threshold needed to win the seat, and he will face Karen Handel, the top Republican vote-getter, in a June runoff.

But the Washington Post gave them the bottom line.

Republicans avoided an embarrassing defeat in a House race in Atlanta’s conservative suburbs by forcing a runoff against Democrat Jon Ossoff, who captured the most votes with a groundswell of grass-roots activism and millions in donations fueled largely by antipathy to President Trump. . .

In a statement early Wednesday, Ossoff acknowledged that he had fallen short. . . Ossoff could find it difficult to sustain the momentum he witnessed this past week in a traditionally Republican district that has been in GOP hands since 1979. Although Handel had earned 19.7 percent of the vote with 88 percent of precincts reporting, in a runoff she is widely expected to rally Republican voters who had divided their votes among 11 GOP candidates in Tuesday’s race.

Sounds good for the Dems, right? Their guy got over 48%. The Republican couldn’t even muster 20%. But that’s in a race in which there were eleven GOP candidates, and only two Democrats.

CNN put it succinctly: “Democrats needed a win. They didn’t get one in Georgia.”

For the second time in a week, Republicans dodged a potential political cataclysm.

Last Tuesday it was a special election in Kansas where the Republican candidate did just enough to win. This Tuesday it was another special election — this one in suburban Atlanta — where a slew of GOP candidates managed to keep Democrat Jon Ossoff just under 50%, forcing a June runoff.

“Day late and a dollar short.” Democrats have never been much good at strategy. Look at last year’s election. When the GOP went “batshit crazy,” according to losing candidate Lindsay Graham, Dems picked a washed-up dynastic candidate in a change election—because it was “her turn.”

Their real chance was last week, in Kansas, according to Bernie Sanders.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Sunday that Democrats should’ve done more to support the party’s candidate, James Thompson, during the special House election in Kansas last week. . .

“So many of our people are giving up on the political process. It is very frightening. In the last presidential election, when Trump won, we had the lowest voter turnout over — in 20 years. And in the previous two years before that, in the midterm election, we had the lowest voter turnout in 70 years,” Sanders continued. . .

“So, what you’re seeing in Kansas, what you’re seeing in Georgia, I believe you’re going to see it in Montana, I believe you’re going to see it all over this country, is the many so-called red states, working people are going to wake up and say, wait a second,” Sanders said. “Republicans want to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and education, and they want to give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the top 1 percent. No, that’s not what we elected Trump to do.”

Yeah, well, maybe. Of the three special elections so far, Montana might be Dems’ best hope, as we reported in these pages in February.

Montana At-Large

• Election date: [May 25] • 2016 presidential margin: Trump 56, Clinton 35
• 2016 House margin: Ryan Zinke (Republican) 56 percent, Denise Juneau (Democrat) 41 percent

Rep. Zinke, who currently holds Montana’s one House seat, is likely to be confirmed as secretary of the interior. But he hasn’t yet, so no date has been set for the vote to replace him. . .

Democrats have won a number of statewide races in Montana recently, including the governorship last year. They have a chance of winning this seat. But [Republican high-tech entrepreneur Greg] Gianforte would be a strong favorite. Montana is really red, after all. . .

Yep. That’s next week. The third week in a row. And Bernie will be there.

Democrat Rob Quist, a folk musician, is running against Republican Greg Gianforte, a wealthy businessman who ran unsuccessfully for governor last year. In a statement Monday, Sanders lauded Quist as a “populist, grassroots candidate fighting for the working families of Montana.”

Sanders’ emergence in the Montana race comes on the heels of his public criticism of national Democratic groups, who mostly held their fire in the special election in Kansas to replace former Rep. Mike Pompeo (R), tapped by President Donald Trump to lead the Central Intelligence Agency. Sanders did not make a visit to south central Kansas to campaign in that race, although his PAC sent a fundraising email for Democratic candidate James Thompson which bore fruit, according to Thompson’s campaign.

So Bernie is complaining about Dems not doing enough in Kansas, but he, um, didn’t show up, either. Democrats are trying to profit from Donald Trump’s low approval ratings, but they’re having to fight in “deep red” states, their strategy has also been in the minor leagues, and so far, they’re batting 0 for 2. Quist is on-deck. “Hey, batter-batter-batter-batter, hey batter!”

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