But he received tremendous support from national Democrats who saw the race as an early bellwether of how the party will do in the 2018 mid-term elections.
The smart people have the runoff as "tight", and in even more grim news for Ossoff, upstart Democrats have been burned by this process before-in 2006, a Democratic candidate in a right-leaning California district took home almost 44 percent of votes in a special-election jungle primary, besting the Republican runner-up by almost 30 points, but then lost the runoff when the mostly Republican electorate united behind a single candidate. The race has been widely considered a referendum on Trump, who has become involved in tweeting and making robocalls in favor of voting against Ossoff.
"To Ossoff's credit, he got a lot of latent Democratic voters who probably haven't been participating in congressional elections because the election of a Republican had been a foregone conclusion", continued Gillepsie.
"We defied the odds and shattered expectations - and we are ready to fight on and win in June".
Mr Ossoff, who ran on a pledge to "Make Trump Furious", portrayed the NY tycoon as a Washington insider. He'll face veteran GOP candidate and former Georgia secretary of state Karen Handel in a June 20 runoff. With the slogan "Make Trump Furious", he aims to galvanize opposition to a president struggling with low approval ratings.
Democrats rejoiced at Ossoff's showing. But Trump, his political brand at stake, painted an opposing picture.
Trump, who attacked Ossoff in recent days as a liberal shill and mocked him for living outside of the district, crowed Wednesday on Twitter about the outcome in Georgia following Democrats' failure to win a different special election in Kansas last week. "It is now Hollywood vs. Georgia on June 20th".
MONTANARO: So you know, he came up 3,000 - a little over 3,600 votes short of a majority.
Tillerson attacks Iran nuclear deal and vows a "comprehensive review"
However, Tillerson's letter was in line with many other assessments that have found Iran has kept its part of the bargain. Analysts and former government officials said it was unlikely the Trump administration would renounce the Iran agreement.
Spicer left open the possibility that Trump campaigns in Georgia ahead of the run-off. It's not the win Democrats hoped for, but it might be a sign of better things to come.
But they do take a bit of wind out of Democrats' sails. "The progressive energy out there is palpable and the volunteers are out there". So clearly, Trump can be a drag here.
The district, which encompasses a swath of well-heeled suburbs north of Atlanta, has elected Republicans to the House since the late 1970s, but Trump carried it by only 1 percentage point in the November presidential election.
The victor in Georgia will succeed Republican Tom Price, who resigned to join Trump's administration as health secretary.
"It does tell you this is the kind of seat that Democrats would and should focus on", he told CNN.
Ossoff benefited from a fractured Republican field of 11 candidates, some of whom emphasized their loyalty to Trump while others kept their distance. An astounding 95% of Ossoff's money came from outside the district.
"Georgia voters made it clear they want to keep conservative values in the 6th District, and I congratulate Karen Handel for emerging from a large and qualified Republican field", said Republican National Committee Chairwoman McDaniel in a Tuesday press release.
The broader point, whether the president understands this or not, is that Trump's unpopularity has created a backlash that's put red seats in play.
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