Ossoff flirts with 50%, but runoff with Handel appears likely

[private]Jon Ossoff came close to winning the 6th Congressional District special election without a runoff, but it appeared Wednesday morning he was headed to a June 20 runoff with Karen Handel.

Problems with computers at Fulton County held up a final tally of Tuesday’s balloting; there were still a handful of precincts out at 1 a.m. when Ossoff was at 48.27 percent of the total vote and Handel at 19.65 percent

“We will be ready to fight on and win in June if it’s necessary,” Ossoff told his supporters shortly before midnight. “Bring it on.”

Ossoff, an unknown Democratic filmmaker when the campaign started, came close to pulling off the near-impossible – winning a congressional seat in Atlanta’s northern suburbs that the Republicans have held for nearly 40 years.

With more than $8 million flowing to him from Democrats around the country, Ossoff blanketed the airwaves with ads and deployed volunteers throughout the district canvassing for votes.

Unless there’s a dramatic change in the last few uncounted ballots, he will fight it out with the Republican Handel in a nine-week runoff campaign that is sure to be nasty and bare-knuckled.

Handel, the former secretary of state, finished ahead of Republicans Bob Gray (who had 11 percent of the vote), Judson Hill (9 percent) and Dan Moody (9 percent) to place herself in position for the runoff.

When the first 56,000 ballots, which had been cast during the early voting period, were tallied Tuesday night, Ossoff had 60 percent of the vote to 15 percent for Handel. That percentage started to drop as the ballots cast on election day were counted.

By 10:30 a.m., with most of the votes counted in Cobb and DeKalb counties, Ossoff’s percentage of the vote still stood at 50.3 percent. It stayed there for more than an hour while Fulton election officials struggled with their computer problems.

As more Fulton returns came in, Ossoff dipped below the 50 percent level, raising the possibility of the runoff.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: 6th Congressional District election