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.

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!”

15 COMMENTS

  1. I never understood why there aren’t election laws requiring candidates to live in the district that they are running for four at least five years. (I.e., primary place of residence)

    • D: 48.9%
      R: 51.0%

      In other words, the margin was quite a bit smaller than the one by which Trump lost against Hillary.

      Of course, Goethe has picked his narrative and he’s gonna stick with it. For some reason (presumably because he’s a hack), he wants to portray this as a victory for Republicans.

      For example, he’s chosen to say that there were only 2 Democratic candidates. In reality there were 5. Sure, 4 of them got less than 1% of the vote, but so did 7 of the Republican candidates.

      All in all, the votes were practically split down the middle between the two parties. I’m not sure why Goethe wants to portray this as good news for Republicans.

      If the scenario were reversed, I’d be quite worried if Dems had gone from 62% to 51% in just one year, in a district that I would expect to stay blue.

      But hey, alternative facts are all the rage. Who cares about reality?

      • With a large number of candidates on both sides, it would have been extremely difficult to get the 51%. Fact
        The Democrats pumped in millions of dollars into this race.
        Fact.
        Democrat lost. Fact.
        Rather you win by a mile or an inch a win is a win. Fact

        • I agree, as the headline says–a Dem loss. The only way Georgia could have been a win for Dems is if they had succeeded in getting 50+%. Now, they’ll lose bigly in June.

          On the other hand, Kansas was a serious sign of GOP weakness, since Dems nearly won it without getting support from the party. For the GOP to claim a 5% win was a success–in a district where the GOP normally wins 2-to-1 is totally ridiculous and disingenuous.

          • Who knows Goethe, people want change. I even want change in the Republican party. I’m not a Paul Ryan fan. ? So each person should be held accountable. The problem comes in when they go to DC. Then they change and become for the party instead of for the people. In the end win is a win.. should we all be worried, yes.

        • Nope. The Democrat won the first vote by far. Statements don’t become facts just because you say the word fact afterwards.

          Adults don’t have any reason to deny facts. Your age is showing.

      • UpIsDown, thanks for the reply. So presumably the voters will get a chance to back a Rep and Dem at the next vote. If momentum is working, then more Reps could move to the Dem candidate.
        I’m asking from the UK. If it was a UK election, then their would be no 2nd vote – the candidate with the most votes takes the seat, and that’s it.
        As I see it, no person has won or lost this election yet (correction: 8 Reps and 3 Dems have lost), so the rhetoric of the article is way over the top . The person with the clear lead is Ossoff, 2.5 times the vote of his nearest rival, so could be said to have “won” the first ballot. Only a handful of Rep’s need to dislike their candidate to swing it to the Dems. They don’t have to change votes, just stay home

        • CJ: This is not a regular election. It’s a special election.

          Ordinarily, the two parties would have a primary, and the top vote-getters of each party would face off. What we had here was like having one primary for both parties.

          Also, ordinarily, in this district, the Republican should beat the Democrat by a rate of 2-to-1. It didn’t happen this time, because Dems were fired up–as well as getting outside help–while Republicans were not fired up, and were divided between 11 candidates.

          The June election will probably go back to the 2-to-1 GOP advantage.

  2. Are the Democrats now content with moral victories? Isn’t that like kissing your sister in a room full of working girls??

      • To be accurate, they just gained 20% of the vote in just 1 year. No need to dream when those are the facts.

    • Kissing your sister is a “heartland” tradition. Us coastal elites usually date outside the immediate family.

    • Is there anything more vital, or more needed, than having and winning a moral victory? Even Trump got involved with his robocalls delivered to Republican voters, warning that Mr. Ossoff would “raise your taxes, destroy your health care and flood our country with illegal immigrants.” Trump always tries to pin his misdeeds on someone else. True, Ossoff may not hold the winning hand in Georgia but the party isn’t over until July 20th when the last voter speaks.

      The brutal truth is that Donald Trump is the most immoral person ever elected president. You don’t have to be a student of history to know this. Just google his name.

      Can’t comment on “kissing your sister”. You must have a hidden personality episode going on for that type of thought pattern.

  3. Huh? Moral victory?

    I would’ve thought the encouraging news here was that the Democratic candidate got within 2 pecentage points of outright majority support, in a district where previous Republican candidates had won by 20 points.

    The fact that Republicans lost that many votes in a solid red area reflects the known state of American politics, in that the GOP can only maintain power through a slanted voting system in which rural white voters have significantly more influence than those outside of that bubble.

    Cities are blue, even in Republican states. As more people tend to travel and interact with the outside world, the Democratic majority will only grow.

    I don’t see what “morality” has to do with it, but if that’s what you need to tell yourself then feel free.

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