It wasn’t as bad for the Democrats as everyone is implying, and not as good for the Republicans as they’re claiming it to be.
On Tuesday night, both Georgia’s 6th Congressional District (GA-06) and South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District (SC-05) held special elections. At least in the case of GA-06, Democrats had a chance to steal a congressional seat from the Republicans. But as you can see from this Donald Trump tweet, that didn’t necessarily happen.
Well, the Special Elections are over and those that want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN are 5 and O! All the Fake News, all the money spent = 0
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2017
Actually it’s 4-0… but whatever, the point is that Democrats again lost another special election since Donald Trump has been in office. Here are our hot takes from Tuesday’s special elections.
Hot Take #1: GA-06 was a lot closer than pundits are making it out to be.
In the special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District Seat, the Republican challenger Karen Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff by the slightest of margins. As the above results show, that’s what happened. However, based on the media’s reaction you’d be forgiven thinking that wasn’t the case…
Now we should be clear, Handel’s win in GA-06 is win for the Republicans in terms of rallying their party to push through more controversial forms of legislation (like the repeal of the ACA). But in terms of this race being the tea leaves that show doom for the Democrats in the 2018 midterms?
The facts are that the generally conservative Atlanta suburb of GA-06 has been held by the GOP since 1979. Not to mention, a political novice like Ossoff always had an uphill battle, even with a very unpopular Trump presidency giving him momentum. Any pollster would tell you, in any political race, margins matter! The slightest of leads isn’t the smoking gun that proves the GOP will retain the House come 2018. Even if conservative lawmakers and cable news pundits want it to be.
Hot Take #2: God may very well hate the Democratic Party
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) June 20, 2017
Remember that episode in The Simpsons where Homer starts a snow plowing business, Mr. Plow, and then Barney starts a rival business, Plow King, and both start competing against each other, until finally they decide it would be best to join forces, only for God to melt all the snow and ruin their perfectly laid out plans? If you don’t, here’s a clip.
On Tuesday, it was kind of like that for the Democrats; only instead of melting snow, it was torrential rain and instead of God ruining a snowplow business, it was the Democrats’ chances of winning the GA-06 House Seat.
Downpours now in GA-6. Torrential rain and flash flood warnings.
— Robert Costa (@costareports) June 20, 2017
Real talk, the Democrats have always had trouble getting their base to vote in Midterm elections. And in the case of special elections – in a bad Robert De Niro voice – “forget aboud it!” For Ossoff to win Georgia’s 5th Congressional District Seat, various elements had to go in the Democrats favor. One of them happened to be the weather.
Hot Take #3: South Carolina’s 5th District special election results might actually be the “sexier” of the two for forcasters.
Projection: Ralph Norman (R) has defeated Archie Parnell (D) in #SC05. But whoa, it was a lot closer than polls suggested it would be.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) June 21, 2017
Before you ask, yes there was another special election in South Carolina’s 5th District and no, Democrats didn’t win that congressional seat either. The winner on Tuesday night was Ralph Norman; a former state representative, real estate developer, and Republican candidate in SC-05.
In general, the SC-05 race didn’t get much attention when compared to GA-06 because there was very little doubt that the GOP would be giving up that congressional seat. In other words, in a world where to-close-to-call congressional races are in vogue, SC-05 was always going to be the ugly duckling of the two. But with SC-05 suddenly being much closer than anyone expected, it’s results got a whole lot more interesting. Some would dare call it cool!
Like we said earlier, in political races, the margin of victory matters. The fact that Norman won the SC-05 by only three percent is a big deal considering this congressional district has been a GOP stronghold since the massive Republican House turnover in 2010. Since then, former Rep. Mick Mulvaney – who vacated the seat because he took a job as President Trump’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget – had won by landslides in every congressional race. It’s a district that Clinton lost by 19 points in 2016. The demographics make it a district that would be the ideal for Republicans and went overwhelmingly to Donald Trump. Now understand, the GOP only won that district by three percentage points!!
Even if Republicans have gone 4-0 in special elections since President Trump took office, having a deeply red district be that close has to be a pause for concern!
(Photo Credit: Karen Handel Twitter, Google Images)