Overnight, Jon Ossoff fell just short of an outright victory in a special election for the Georgia Congressional seat vacated by Tom Price, who was appointed Health and Human Services Secretary by Donald Trump. Ossoff gained 48.1 percent of the vote. He needed 50 percent to avoid a runoff; he didn’t get it, so he will be facing Karen Handel in June, who got 19.8 percent of the vote.
Trump and some Republicans are celebrating the fact that a Democrat scored 28 more points than the next Republican as a victory.
Despite major outside money, FAKE media support and eleven Republican candidates, BIG "R" win with runoff in Georgia. Glad to be of help!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 19, 2017
Donald Trump is a fucking idiot.
Yes, there will be a runoff, and yes, Ossoff will have his hands full against a woman with a lot of name recognition in Georgia (she is the former Secretary of State there, and ran unsuccessfully for both Governor and the U.S. Senate). But based on Nate Silver’s models and a lot of algorithms blah blah blah, Jon Ossoff’s chances of winning the runoff in June are 50/50, and while a 1 in 2 shot of turning a Congressional seat may not sound that heartening to Democrats, consider all of the following:
— Jon Ossoff received about 6 percent more of the vote than polling suggested he would thanks to the tremendous Democrat turnout and anti-Trump enthusiasm.
— Jon Ossoff scored 48.1 percent of the vote, and has a 50/50 shot of winning the runoff in a district where Tom Price won by 23 points. It’s the same district that Newt Gingrich held for 20 years. Yes, Contract for America Newt Gingrich.
— Make no mistake: This is a deeply red district, where Jon Ossoff has at least 50 percent chance of winning against a woman with huge name recognition in the area. Meanwhile Ossoff is a 30-year-old first time candidate, who was basically a nobody until four months ago. He graduated college only 8 years ago. He doesn’t even live in the f**king district, and he still received 48.1 percent of the vote.
This kid is a nobody living in sin with his girlfriend outside of his district and he raised $8 million in four months in Georgia, people, the home state of B.J. and the Bear, a television show about a trucker and his monkey!
This is literally like running a 30-year-old Republican nobody in San Bernardino County in California against a well known establishment Democrat and still having only a 50 percent chance. I mean, Ossoff seems like a really good guy and all, but the only reason why he has a 50/50 shot of winning a district that Democrats lost by 23 points is because of Donald Trump.
But here’s why Democrats should really feel excited: There are 85 Republican districts in the United States that are currently less red than Georgia’s sixth district (I counted!). Eighty-five. If the Democrats can fare as well in 2018 in the other 85 districts as they did in Georgia with a wet-behind-his-ears 30-year-old with no political experience, 2018 is going to be a bloodbath, whether Ossoff wins the runoff or not.
So, take a lot of heart in that, folks. The only thing that Donald Trump won last night was a temporary reprieve on his inevitable humiliation.