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Georgia election heads for runoff as Dem falls just short of majority

By
Mike Bambach
Democrat Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old investigative filmmaker, made the strongest showing in Georgia's 6th District among a field of 18 candidates. But he is headed for a runoff after falling short of winning a majority of votes in Tuesday's special election. Photo courtesy Jon Ossoff/Twitter
Democrat Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old investigative filmmaker, made the strongest showing in Georgia's 6th District among a field of 18 candidates. But he is headed for a runoff after falling short of winning a majority of votes in Tuesday's special election. Photo courtesy Jon Ossoff/Twitter

April 19 (UPI) -- Georgia's special election to replace former House Rep. Tom Price is headed for a runoff after Democrat Jon Ossoff narrowly missed winning a majority of votes.

Ossoff had the strongest showing Tuesday in a hotly contested race that some saw as a gauge of President Donald Trump's popularity. The 30-year-old investigative filmmaker led the field of 18 candidates with 48.3 percent of the vote in Georgia's 6th District, held for decades by Republicans.

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CNN called the race just after midnight.

Ossoff will face Karen Handel, the top Republican vote-getter with 19.7 percent, in the June 20 runoff. Price, now the president's Health and Human Services secretary, was re-elected with nearly 62 percent of the vote in 2016.

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Ossoff outperformed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Cobb and DeKalb counties and was running ahead of Clinton's numbers in Fulton County.

While Ossoff declared "a victory for the ages," President Trump claimed a win for Republicans, who combined to win 50.5 percent of the votes. That vote is expected to be consolidated behind Handel in the runoff.

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The president understood the stakes of the second congressional vote since his administration took office, a week after Kansas' 4th District narrowly replaced CIA Director Mike Pompeo with another Republican.

On Monday, Trump recorded a robocall encouraging Georgians to vote against the 30-year-old Democrat, saying he will "raise your taxes, destroy your healthcare, and flood our country with illegal immigrants."

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Doug G. Ware contributed to this report.

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