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Trump Boasts About Republican Wins in Special Congressional Elections

  • Ken Bredemeier

FILE - U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a statement at the White House in Washingto, June 14, 2017.

U.S. President Donald Trump boasted Wednesday about Republican success in winning congressional elections this year, the latest in the southern state of Georgia in what was the most expensive race for a seat in the House of Representatives in U.S. history.

Trump said in a Twitter comment, "Well, the Special Elections are over and those that want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN are 5 and O! All the Fake News, all the money spent = 0."

Republicans have actually won four races, with Democrats capturing a fifth seat. Karen Handel, a former Georgia state official, won Tuesday's marquee election in the wealthy, highly educated suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, defeating her Democratic challenger, Jon Ossoff.

Republican candidate for Georgia's 6th District Congressional seat Karen Handel celebrates with her husband Steve as she declares victory during an election-night watch party, June 20, 2017, in Atlanta.
Republican candidate for Georgia's 6th District Congressional seat Karen Handel celebrates with her husband Steve as she declares victory during an election-night watch party, June 20, 2017, in Atlanta.

A second Republican, Ralph Norman, won a congressional seat in South Carolina.

In both states, the Republican winners are replacing Republican officeholders who vacated their seats when Trump tapped them for key positions in his administration.

In another Twitter comment, Trump said that opposition Democrats "would do much better as a party if they got together with Republicans on health care, tax cuts, security. Obstruction doesn't work!"

Trump, five months into his presidency, has had scant legislative success in enacting his agenda, with Democrats blocking or stalling many of his proposals.

Health care reforms

However, Republicans in the House of Representatives did narrowly push through an overhaul of national health care reforms championed by former President Barack Obama and Senate Republicans are promising to reveal their version of the measure on Thursday and then vote on it next week. Its legislative fate in the Senate is uncertain and any measure passed in that chamber would have to be reconciled with the House-approved bill.

Handel's victory allowed Republicans to hold onto a closely contested seat and deny the Democratic Party a chance to chip away at the Republican majority in the House of Representatives.

The race between Handel and Ossoff was a major focus for both parties, sparking $50 million in campaign spending. Handel won with about 53 percent of the vote to Ossoff's 47 percent.

That was much tighter than when the same seat was up for election last November and won by Republican Tom Price by 23 percentage points. Price stepped down after Trump picked him to run the Department of Health and Human Services.

Trump barely won in the same district in November, topping his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, by one percentage point, and he had used Twitter in the closing days of the campaign to both criticize Ossoff and urge voters to support Handel.

Earlier this year, Republicans won special elections in Montana and Kansas, while a Democrat won a race in California.

The result is that, going forward, Republicans will hold a 241-194 majority in the House. The party has a 52-48 majority in the Senate.

All of the 435 House seats will be contested in 2018, and if Democrats want to reclaim control of the chamber they will need to gain at least 24 seats.

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