A former Georgia secretary of state, Handel emphasized her experience and roots in Georgia's 6th Congressional District to defeat Ossoff and keep a seat that's always been held by Republicans in GOP hands.
Voters in Georgia cast ballots Tuesday in the priciest USA congressional race ever, a $60 million political nailbiter where a Democratic novice could score an upset in a conservative stronghold - and deal a blow to President Donald Trump.
Opinion polls showed a narrow lead for Democrat Jon Ossoff, a political newcomer who is hoping to win a district that has been held by Republicans since the 1970s.
Republican Karen Handel won a fierce, closely-watched special congressional election Tuesday in Georgia, US media projected, salvaging a seat in traditional conservative territory where Democrats had hoped to strike a blow against Donald Trump's presidency.
A sticker decorates the shirt of Karen Handel, Republican candidate for Georgia's 6th congressional district as she talks to reporters during a campaign stop at Old Hickory House in Tucker, Ga., Monday, June 19, 2017.
The former Georgia secretary of state was quick to embrace her party's leader after mostly avoiding him - at least publicly - during a protracted campaign.
Norman, a former state lawmaker, said support from the president resonated positively with voters.
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The 6th District seat has been in the Republican Party's hands since 1979. Trump barely won the affluent, well-educated district in November, trailing the usual GOP benchmark here by double-digits.
Meanwhile, as The Mercury News pointed out earlier this morning, this race has been by far the costliest in the history of Congressional races with Ossoff raising over $23 million. They fell short in other special congressional elections earlier this year in Kansas and Montana, and are expected to lose another race on Tuesday in SC.
"She personally told me she was rock solid" with the president, said Webb, 70.
With Democrats potentially striking the first blow against Trump in 2017, the race has drawn substantial national attention - and vast outside contributions.
Trends leave Democrats hopeful they can win a House majority next year.
"This is such an important election because of what goes on in D.C.", he said, adding that there has been "a ton of emotion" in a district used to watching Republicans coast. Representative-elect Handel will occupy the House seat vacated by current Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price. Handel emphasized that pedigree often during her campaign and again during her victory speech.
Ossoff lives just south of the suburban district, his address is close to Emory University where his fiancee attends medical school.
The high-dollar contest was fueled by Super PACs and other outside groups, which accounted for $26.2 million of the overall cost, with Handel raking in the bulk of it at $18.2 million, compared to Ossoff's $7.6 million.
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